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(article, Culinate staff)
Tom Philpott, the stalwart food-politics reporter for Grist, is moving on — to Mother Jones. By way of farewell, he's penned a two-part essay titled "Great Places, Great Food." In the first part, Philpott provides a brief history of America's consolidation of its food industry, including the decline in our society of respect (and wages) for food workers: bq. Our food system has evolved into a vehicle for impoverishing workers and transferring vast sums of wealth from communities to shareholders in a few large companies, all the while churning out huge amounts of health-destroying food. The second part of Philpott's essay is a rebuttal to the first part: bq. But food can also be a tool to build health and wealth within communities — and indeed is doing just that in localities throughout the country and across the globe. Philpott's chief example here is the death and rebirth, over the past century, of America's beer industry: "You can now go nearly anywhere in the country and experience a robust and varied local beer culture." He also applauds the resurgence of classic butchery. In passing, Philpott also notes that, in the five years he's written for Grist, our food awareness as consumers has changed, too. "When I started at Grist in 2006, it seemed exotic and risky for an environmental 'zine to invest in a fulltime food writer," he notes. "Today, the practice is commonplace. Grist's leaders and readers helped blaze that trail."