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Mark Bittman's New Food Manifesto

This article is more than 8 years old.
Mark Bittman (Credit: Sally Stein, courtesy of MarkBittman.com)
Mark Bittman (Credit: Sally Stein, courtesy of MarkBittman.com)

Food writer Mark Bittman has an interesting new "manifesto" at the Times' Opinionator blog. Listen back to our great hour with Bittman.

Here are a couple of his ideas for reforming food production in America:

-End government subsidies to processed food. We grow more corn for livestock and cars than for humans, and it’s subsidized by more than $3 billion annually; most of it is processed beyond recognition. The story is similar for other crops, including soy: 98 percent of soybean meal becomes livestock feed, while most soybean oil is used in processed foods. Meanwhile, the marketers of the junk food made from these crops receive tax write-offs for the costs of promoting their wares. Total agricultural subsidies in 2009 were around $16 billion, which would pay for a great many of the ideas that follow.

-Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption. Small farmers and their employees need to make living wages. Markets — from super- to farmers’ — should be supported when they open in so-called food deserts and when they focus on real food rather than junk food. And, of course, we should immediately increase subsidies for school lunches so we can feed our youth more real food.

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