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Mark Bittman's first official op-ed

(article, Culinate staff)

At the end of January, Mark Bittman wrapped up "The Minimalist," his long-running food column in the New York Times, jumping instead to the op-ed pages. Barely into February, his debut op-ed had appeared, titled "A Food Manifesto for the Future." With no preamble, he neatly summed up the food-reform movement:

bq. For decades, Americans believed that we had the world’s healthiest and safest diet. We worried little about this diet’s effect on the environment or on the lives of the animals (or even the workers) it relies upon. Nor did we worry about its ability to endure — that is, its sustainability.

bq. That didn’t mean all was well. And we’ve come to recognize that our diet is unhealthful and unsafe. Many food production workers labor in difficult, even deplorable, conditions, and animals are produced as if they were widgets. It would be hard to devise a more wasteful, damaging, unsustainable system.

He then offered a list of suggestions for fixing the system, all of which should be familiar by now: ending federal subsidies for processed food, starting subsidies for real food, rearranging the USDA and the FDA, outlawing CAFOs, supporting responsible animal husbandry, and more. Most intriguing? His idea for a Civilian Cooking Corps.