Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Great Insight on Food Policy and Reform

Jayson Lusk has a very good summary of probably one of the best pieces I have read about the politics of food policy in a long long time. Very well written.

Read more:

The Politics of Food Reform Has Disappeared From the Democratic Agenda - by James McWilliams (Pacific Standard)


Also in the article we find:

"If there is to be any hope of bringing agriculture back to the plate of national politics, we need to move beyond the dichotomies that frame our current debates. We need a new set of organizing principles. A starting point might be to shift our thinking away from how food is produced to something more fundamental: What is it that we’re even producing? The United States grows a handful of staple crops — mostly corn and soy — to feed a handful of animal species — mostly chickens and cows. What if we could re-claim those resources to pursue a diversity of food production — mostly plants — in a way that focused on nutritional rather than caloric density? "

The author does use the word *might* but there are a lot of trade-offs that go unrecognized with this line of argument....like the fact that grain is a complement in a much more complex food production process turning inedible plants into high quality protein that we other wise would not have were it not for raising the grains....i.e. feeding them to livestock. Sure we could have some form of grass finished food production but the environmental costs would be much higher leading to less sustainable sources of protein.

See also:

Telegram: Beef, It's What's for Dinner

The environmental impact of dairy production: 1944 compared with 2007. Journal of Animal Science,Capper, J. L., Cady, R. A., Bauman, D. E. 2009; 87 (6): 2160 DOI: 10.2527/jas.2009-1781