The “cheap food” strategy has FAILED!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to a brilliant lecture by Professor Emeritus John Ikerd.  His talk was being filmed by HBO for possible clips to include in the show they are developing about obesity.

John made a compelling case for a theory that the economics of big corporate farming and food production has resulted in (a) depleted health soil that no longer provides the nutrients we need in the food that we eat, (b) the increase in obesity, and (c) the subsequent increase in the amount of money that we spend on health care.  The original intent of big corporate farming to provide cheap food for the nation so that no one would go hungry has not worked.  People are literally still going hungry in this country AND the food that we ARE eating is leaving us hungry for more because of it’s lack of nutrient value.  The idea that we are eating more and more because we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from the food we eat is an interesting and compelling idea.

I wasalso  particularly touched by John’s invocation that we don’t fall into the easy tendency to “blame obesity on people, specifically on the psyche or physiology of people who eat too many calories.”  He goes on to suggest that we get real about the fact that much of the problem lies with the agricultural and food industries and the result of their practices.  Frankly, I think that the these industries should be paying for a portion of the health care bill just like the tobacco industry is being asked to pay retribution for ruining people’s health with the purposeful use of nicotine to hook people on tobacco.  The food industry spends millions of dollars coming up with ways of hooking people on food that isn’t good for them with the use of increased fat, sugar, and salt.  The purpose and intent is greed.  We are paying for it as a nation.

John’s talk was inspiring and challenging.  I highly recommend that you read the complete script  and I hope we get a chance to see him on HBO.  I’ll keep you posted.