An Interview with Former New York Times Food Columnist Mark Bittman

Faces & Visions of the Food Movement: Mark Bittman (Excerpt of the Article/Interview by Jen Dalton from Civil Eats – Click title to read it in its entirety)

A week after penning his final article for the New York Times as The Minimalist, and just before beginning a weekly op-ed column and becoming a regular Times Magazine contributor, Mark Bittman spoke to Civil Eats about his vision for a saner and more delicious food system:

Where do you see the state of agriculture/food policy in the next 5-10 years? Is real policy change a real possibility?

It’s inevitable; it’s that or steady decline. The real question is “Does change happen because we win some important battles, or does it happen because the country or the world experiences some unforeseen disaster wakes us up?” I’m not rooting for disaster, but I’d guess we see either significant change or disaster—or both—in the next 20 years; food-wise, scary things are right around the corner. Typically, though, Americans need bad situations to bring about significant change.

What does the food movement need to do, be or have to be more effective?

I don’t know if the movement really exists yet; it’s just starting. It would be great if there were some loud, clear and consistent voices out there. Michael Pollan has become a force to be reckoned with, and you can tell that because he’s regularly attacked by the food industry–how great is that? Oprah, of all people, could’ve been a voice, but she caved in. Maybe she’ll give Civil Eats a hundred million bucks, which would help.

We just need more and more people fighting for food policy that benefits everyone. Right now the so-called movement feels like a few thousand people talking about it to each other—I mean, really, who’s reading this interview? Not that it isn’t worth doing, but how do we get these notions to a broader public? We need tens, hundreds of thousands of us, making noise in public. We need a new anti-war movement, one that’s not only anti-war but pro-food and, of course, pro-justice in all arenas. This is not a small thing!

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