On March 13, Dame Marion Nestle, Ph.D, M.P.H., Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at NYU, was interviewed by Dame Linda Pelaccio, Culinary Historian and Radio/Podcast Host of "A Taste of the Past". About 25 people attended this informal but inspiring conversation about her life and career, in a classroom at NYU.
Some of the provocative topics at this talk, posed by Linda Pelaccio, included:
"Food in this country is too cheap"
Americans only spend 6-7% of their budget on food, buying the cheapest products, which are often low in nutrients—fast food, junk food.
"We vote with Our Fork"
Every time we choose to eat something—buy it in a market, order it in a restaurant—we are sending a signal to the producers, distributors, marketers. That means that consumers are getting more power, and can influence policy—asking to remove antibiotics from meat and poultry, and to eliminate artificial colors and flavors. She is a powerful supporter of eating local; to quote her, "Local food movements shine as beacons of empowerment and hope. By making food choices that support regional farmers and producers, we vote with our forks for healthier and more sustainable lives for ourselves, our children, our communities, and our planet."
"What’s Wrong with Restaurants"
She named two: first of all, portion size is too large; people have come to associate quantity with getting their money’s worth. And second of all, the over-use of salt. People have gotten used to high levels, and cutting back will make food taste bland.
"Why & How Food is better today"
There are more farmers’ markets, more community-supported agriculture groups, more organic products, more cookbooks, and more Food Studies programs.
In the future, women will get more credit for the food movement not just Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman.
Marion will continue to empower her students, giving them hope, and showing them how they can bring about change in society through changes in food. In her own words, "I hear all the time from students about how much they want to find work that will give meaning to their lives and help change the world, but how pessimistic they feel about whether this is possible in today’s political environment. They see what needs to be done, but don’t know how or where to begin. "Begin with food, I tell them."
For more information, go to Marion’s website: www.foodpolitics.com