A few weeks ago, The Nation ran a piece by Frances Moore Lappé entitled “The Food Movement: Its Power and Possibilities” to honor the 40th anniversary of the publication of her now-classic Diet for a Small Planet. Simultaneously critical and hopeful, her Nation essay takes a bird’s-eye view of disparate but related facets of the global movement for just food systems. I especially liked the way her piece opens: “For years I’ve been asked, ‘Since you wrote Diet for a Small Planet in 1971, have things gotten better or worse?’ Hoping I don’t sound glib, my response is always the same: ‘Both.’ As food growers, sellers and eaters, we’re moving in two directions at once.”
Also worth checking out are four replies to her piece. Michael Pollan (“How Change Is Going to Come in the Food System”) considers the politics of reforming our food system, including the disconnect between, on the one hand, the first lady’s very public efforts to tie childhood obesity to the food system and, on the other, the lack of serious efforts at reform from her husband’s administration. Eric Schlosser (“It’s Not Just About Food”) calls for a food activism linked to a broader vision of economic and social justice. Raj Patel (“Why Hunger Is Still With Us”) “temper[s] an optimism of the will with a pessimism of the intellect.” Lastly, Vandana Shiva (“Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds”), focuses on the corporate control of seeds.