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Michael Pollan and Forbes.com just released their list of the World’s 7 Most Powerful Foodies. I love Michael Pollan and his books have been very influential on my thinking. He is one of the first names I think of when someone mentions food politics.
I am thrilled to see some of my favorite food advocates on this list. These are individuals who are advocating for reform of the American food system, whether it be farming politics or diet and nutrition politics. It is one of the most important social movements of our time. We are living in an era of major health crisis and safe, real food is the key to our health and healing. This movement started back in the 1970’s when Francis Moore Lappe wrote the book Diet for a Small Planet and Wendell Berry wrote The Unsettling of America and continues well into a new century.
The following seven people are currently considered the movement’s most powerful voices, according to Michael Pollan and Forbes.com:
1. Michelle Obama. Whether or not you agree with the politics of the White House, Michelle Obama has been influential during her time as First Lady in moving food issues to the forefront of the national agenda. Her Let’s Move campaign is focused on fixing the mess that we are in regarding childhood obesity. However, that said, there is still the main issue of the love affair between Monsanto and the U.S. Government.
2. Marion Nestle. Marion is an incredibly strong voice in the food politics movement and she is an expert on the many problems with the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the relationship between food, marketing and government policy. She is the author of the book Food Politics, which is on my Amazon.com wishlist!
3. Josh Viertel. Josh is the President of Slow Food, USA, another organization that I highly respect and refer to often. If you haven’t explored Slow Food, USA, I strongly encourage you to do so.
4. Will Allen. Will Allen was a new advocate to me, but after reading up on him, I look forward to learning more about his work. He runs the Growing Power farm in Milwaukee and has shown that urban gardening can play an important role in helping inner city areas.
5. Jack Sinclair. Jack is the head of grocery at Wal-Mart. I am not a huge fan of the behemoth known as Wal-Mart, but Jack is poised to make a real difference as long as he can avoid being “bought out” by the agendas of the marketing agencies, Monsanto, etc.
6. Ken Cook. Ken is the Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), another fantastic organization that I refer to often. The EWG are the ones who put out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen reports each year. He is a very important voice in food safety and food policy.
7. Mark Bittman. Who doesn’t love Mark Bittman? I love reading anything he writes, so much so that I have a Google alert set up so I know when there is new stuff posted online involving him. He has tirelessly proven that real food is more affordable and more doable than the SAD. If you don’t know who he is, I recommend starting here.
So, now, I ask you. Who is missing from this list? The very first person that comes to mind is Joel Salatin. There are other food and dietary experts and advocates like Sally Fallon and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, but they don’t have the political pull that the people on the Forbes list have. Who would you like to see on subsequent lists? Who do you most admire when it comes to food advocacy?
I would like to see Dr. Mercola on the list, and Jessica Espinoza, of course. Will Allen figures prominently in several of the recent foodie documentaries. Check our “Fresh,” an upbeat look at people doing great things in the food movement. Will is a pioneer of the urban gardening movement, a really genuine guy. I think the important thing to keep in mind about WalMart (love ’em or hate ’em) is that this company is so successful because it is very market-driven–it gives us what we demand. If we stop demanding something, it disappears from the shelves. The changes taking place in Walmart are very encouraging to me because that tells me that the demands of the average American (most of us) are changing, improving!, as we become more educated about the negative effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD) on our health and environment. Thanks to folks like you, Jessica, we are making a difference….even at WalMart!
Thanks for the comment Anne (and the compliments 😉 – should I disclose to everyone that you’re my sister?? :))! You bring up some very good points about Wal-Mart and some things I had not considered. It will be interesting to see where we are as a nation in 10 years. I am thankful, happy, and excited about being a teeny tiny part of this social movement!
Just because Michelle Obama is the first lady, it hardly makes her a “foodie.” While I appreciate the fact that she is encouraging better diets and growing our own food, I would be willing to bet that she only knows a tenth of the nutritional advice that true foodies do. If she wants to impress me then she should tell her husband to do something about Monsanto and the FDA. Then I’ll be impressed.
I absolutely agree with you Mimi. Of all the people on the list, she was the one I was least impressed about. I almost find it an oxymoron that she’s on the list, considering that special relationship between Monsanto and the U.S. Gov’t. She definitely should not have been #1 on the list, IMO. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Thanks for linking your
great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next
Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com
on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured
Hi Jill! Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the post I shared. Lots of good things on Fat Tuesday. I’m heading back over to see what all has been added! 🙂
I also would like to see Dr. Mercola. I think politics should not be a decider of who makes the list. Who is telling the truth, helping America, teaching them about health & the body? I would also like to see a group called Maximized Living!
Hi Alayna! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I also agree on Dr. Mercola. The reason I mentioned the “political pull” thing is becuse these are the people who are poised to make a huge difference becuase people in high places know who they are. It would be much easier for them to bring about change than say, me. The people in decision making positions don’t know who I am. But, they do know who Jack Sinclair is. All in all, it’s going to take a huge movement of people on this bandwagon to bring about change. Each and every one of us has a role to play in the movement, no matter how small it might be! 🙂
I guess *I* didn’t make the list–I was probably number 8! 😀 But seriously, I see some on the list that I agree with and some I don’t. There are definitely some VIFs (Very Important Foodies) missing!
Jean – I agree! There are some important foodies missing. Maybe I’ll just make my own list and post it!! 🙂 Who would you say is missing?