food

Buying Respectability

Imagine that you're a company that is increasingly besieged by complaints that your heavily advertised junk foods and sugary drinks are contributing to obesity, diabetes and other health problems. The First Lady has even gotten into the act, making "eating healthy" a personal priority. Naturally, the company wants to neutralize public criticisms about its unhealthy products and refurbish its corporate image.

What better way than to buy a slice of respectability and high-minded objectivity from an Ivy League school -- say, Yale University?

NAFTA, Mexican Corn and the Commons

What happens when a market-based agricultural juggernaut invades a 9,000-year-old system of commons-based maize production in Mexico? What are the on-the-ground consequences? How have the farmers using traditional agriculture responded? Journalist Peter Canby offers a stunning account of this saga in his well-reported piece in The Nation, “Retreat to Subsistence.” Highly recommended reading.

"The Gleaners and I"

After seeing a famous painting by Francois Milet, Les Graneuses ("The Gleaners"), of a group of women stooped over picking up leftover stalks of wheat, French documentary film maker Agnes Varda began to wonder about modern-day gleaners — the people who scavenge their food from the scraps that our modern industrial society discards as waste. She wondered about trash in our modern times: “Who finds a use for it? How? Can one live on the leftovers of others?"

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