Time Offers A Primer on the "Food Crisis"

Coming up from "fishing" for a moment to pass on a link to this piece in Time magazine about the "food crisis." There's not much new here --- the analysis of both the problem and the possible solutions are both well-worn --- but this is Time, after all, about as mainstream a publication as there is and so no one ought to expect ground-breaking analysis.

And of course because it is so mainstream, the content is all, well, not glib exactly, but . . . not exactly textured either. Still, if you're not up on the "food fight" unfolding in many quarters these days, it's definitely worth a read. As far as I'm concerned, the money quote is this one:

A transition to more sustainable, smaller-scale production methods could even be possible without a loss in overall yield, as one survey from the University of Michigan suggested, but it would require far more farmworkers than we have today.

Hmmmm. Gee. Isn't that one reason that immigration is such a contentious issue? Because most Americans don't want to engage in manual or agricultural labor?

Indeed, that's part of my frustration with the "change the food system" folks: revamping the food system would require Americans to face up to the quandries of farm subsidies, private v. public good, export issues, land use issues, and the messy, contentious matter of immigration to boot.

As I've noted here before, the issues of the food system are extraordinarily complex. It's easy to say "Gee, let's all eat local and meet our farmers at the market every week and savor those heirloom veggies," --- and so so so difficult to figure out now to change a deeply entrenched system rooted in money, politics, and tradition, and turn entrenched cultural values on their heads (which, as a historian, I can tell you is no easy feat).

And still feed 250 million people (plus a few zillions others around the planet).

But, I digress. If you have time, read the article. You'll learn something about an important topic. Now: Back to fishing. (Tip o' the mug to Tom Laskawy at Beyond Green.)