What’s the most hopeful sign of change you’ve seen in American food and agriculture over the past 10 years?
The dramatic increase in the public’s interest in food and farming issues is the single biggest change we can point to. These were marginal issues back then. They didn’t have any attention in the White House, for instance, and the conversation in Congress was completely dominated by agribusiness. Now, it’s a conversation that millions of people are taking part in, and it has changed their buying and eating habits. There is an alternative food economy today that was tiny 10 years ago. But it’s important to recognize that none of the problems have been solved. The public health and environmental problems tied to the food system have scarcely diminished, if at all. And in the last 10 years, we’ve seen the American way of eating, with all its costs, spreading around the world. It is encouraging that people in places like Brazil are beginning to question this way of eating and growing food, but little has been done to dislodge it, except in the case of a relatively small number of individuals.
What is the top challenge ahead for food system change?
The greatest challenge going forward is to demonstrate that the types of sustainable farming and sustainable eating we’re advocating can work on a national and global scale.
Originally published on September 1, 2014