That’s the story that Kristin Lawless tells in her new book – Formerly Known As Food: How the Industrial Food System is Changing Our Minds, Bodies and Culture.
Lawless challenges the modern food movement for focusing on individual choice – made famous by Michael Pollan’s prescription – eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
Lawless might revise it to – challenge, as much as possible, corporate power and the corporate takeover of the kitchen.
Flip to the back of the book to see how Lawless differs from Pollan and the food movement’s focus on the individual.
Instead, she targets corporate power.
Stop predatory marketing of poor quality industrial foods. Stop the marketing of infant formula to parents. Place warning labels on all industrial food packaging – “these foods may be harmful to your health.” Stop the use of thousands of chemicals in and on our food supply.
Create a federal urban farm program. Demand nutrition and cooking education in all public schools. Demand a universal basic income. Demand payment for cooking and other household work. Demand six months paid parental leave – insuring the option to breast feed as a right.
Lawless writes that ten companies control nearly every large food and beverage brand in the world – Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods and Mondelez.
And still the food movement focus is the individual, not the corporation.
“When food movement leaders say the solutions are to eat whole foods and buy organic, they leave out the crucial fact that we need to collectively reject the production of poor quality processed foods and stop the production of dangerous pesticides and other environmental chemicals that contaminate many foods,” she writes. “Critics do not often articulate this omission, but it is largely why the movement is perceived as elitist – and rightly so. If the food movement’s solutions are market based and predicated on spending more for safer and healthier food, they ignore how impossible these solutions are for most Americans. In fact, this agenda serves the agendas of Big Food and Big Ag quite well.”