I just read a book—on a whim—called Skinny Bitch. Yes, it’s a diet/self-help kind of thing. I picked it up at the library for some bitchy straight talk about some addictions I want to kick—namely, sugar and dairy (a chapter is devoted to each). It turned out to be a really great read about the politics of big Ag, the dairy and meat industries, and how industry money and power in our food safety agencies render them kind of useless (all that in what I’d describe as a Modeling-Agency-Drill-Instructor tone).
After that, I was eager to read this pair of NYT pieces (one opinion, one multiple opinions): First, Is Veganism Good For Everyone? And then a look at “ethical eating”: A Visit With ‘The Greatest Living Food Writer’.
I’m an omnivore (I like to know where my meat-in-moderation comes from). But, with all this, I’m starting to think twice. Here’s one more from Mother Jones to tip the scales: “pink slime isn’t even the worst that the meat industry has to offer.”
With a tip o’ the hat to Sightliner Meaghan Tracy Robbins, this logical fallacy infographic was so good I’m thinking of wallpapering Sightline’s office with it.
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Better yet, my annual brush with existential angst came in the mail this week in the form of the 2012 course catalogue from the North Cascades Institute. You can find a high-quality online version here, which includes a free implicit reminder that you are wasting your life by not spending more time exploring the North Cascades. It’s true.
Plus, two viewing opportunities. I very much enjoyed the documentary “Clearcut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon.” It’s a rather painful look at the culture wars in a Northwest timber town. And from the inimitable Charles Mudede, an answer to the question “what happens when an African man runs out of bullets?”
This beautiful video of Portland has me feeling homesick:
Finding Portland from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.
Finally: I just finished, and loved, Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating. She spent time picking veggies on a California farm, stocking produce at Walmart, and prepping food at Applebees to understand how food moves from farm to table and what life is like for workers in the food industry.
My takeaway? There’s no silver bullet for the US’s food problems (namely access and obesity). Our food issues are all wrapped up in economic inequality, land use, lack of food education, agriculture policy, and leisure time.
Even the simple act of buying tomatoes is a stretch for a large swath of our population. And tough jobs that pay little leave us so exhausted that the appeal of processed food is oh-so-enticing. I highly recommend it.
Eric de Place
That’s an awesome video of Portland.
It put me in mind of the sequence that opens every episode of “Portlandia,” and which always strikes me as capturing something distinct and wonderful about the city: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qzsEzRPgO4.