“[Reparation Ecology] is an invitation to observe these big transformations as reparation. Moving away from capitalism moving toward something much better…it is a deeper way of engaging with the  politics of possibility after capitalism.” -Raj Patel

On this edition of The Secret Ingredient hosts Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy turn the tables on Raj Patel to interview him along with Jason W. Moore about their new book, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and The Future of The Planet.

 

 

We have to do something to take us off this treadmill of ratcheting up land prices.” -Suzan Erem, The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

On the latest edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott, and Rebecca McInroy talk with Suzan Erem about the future of US farming.

Erum is the president and co-founder of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT), and author of Labor Pains: Inside America’s New Union Movement.

We spoke to her from the studios of Iowa Public Radio in Iowa City, Iowa.

Life begins with the seed germinating…we depend on seed and most of the seed is the seed we will produce, have it, save and use in the next planting season. That’s what most of the farmers in Tanzania still do… It was inherited for generations and generations.” –Janet Maro

The seed exchange system that Maro speaks about is currently under threat in Tanzania. Assistance organizations in that country that are seeking to help small farms also supported regulations that banned seed-sharing – a generations-old practice among small-scale farmers. Tanzania passed legislation that made it illegal to share seeds as a condition for receiving development assistance through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). You can read more about the legislation in this article.

In this episode of The Secret Ingredient, we wanted to find out more about this new law, so Raj Patel, Tom Philpott, and Rebecca McInroy called up Janet Maro, head of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT).

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Since this show was recorded in December of last year, Maro said that SAT had a seed stakeholders platform, in which farmers met with Tanzanian officials to discuss the ramifications of the law. Although the small-scale farmers gained more clarity about the overall effects of seed-sharing, she says, they still want exemption from penalties as a result of seed-sharing.

James Baldwin said, “the purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.” When considering this sentiment in relationship to “nutritionism” one might look at Aya Kimura‘s book, Hidden Hunger: Gender and the Politics of Smarter Foods, as a work of “art” as she explores the questions that remain after the “experts” answer problems of micronutrient deficiencies with the science of fortification and biofortification.

In the latest edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk with Kimura about food and culture, market forces, and what is lost when the “western savior comes in to rescue the global south.”

From agriculture to restaurant kitchens, the American food system is dominated by immigrants – and has been for over a century. On this edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk with Dr. Krishnendu Ray  author of “The Ethnic Restaurateur” about what this means for how Americans understand everything from good taste to what it means to be “native” in light of President-elect Donald Trump’s recent election.

 

 

 

“There isn’t a single aspect of what we eat that is not touched by industry spin.” –Anna Lappé

There are so many logistical barriers to healthy, fresh, ethically produced and farmed foods — from food deserts to our busy daily schedules — that managing to eat well is a challenge. But there is another layer to the story of our food and that is “Spin.”

Companies spend billions of dollars on messaging to convince consumers that their products are good for us, even when they are packed with everything from high-fructose corn syrup to saturated fat and salt.

In this edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk with the award winning founder of the Small Planet Institute and The Small Planet Fund and author of Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, Anna Lappé about the work she is doing to combat “Spin.”

People are interesting animals. We look to many things to help us understand our place and identity in this world. We have maps, passports, languages, families, clothes, books and (among so much more) we also have food.

At first thought, we might not consider food as part of our identity. We might have toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, soup for dinner and go to bed not thinking much about how that relationship to food constructs, not only your psychical bodies, but also our national identities.

We might not think much of it, but anthropologist Arjun Appadurai does.

“It is the most artificial thing that humans have ever built,” says Appadurai of nationalism. “That seems the most natural.”

In this edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk with Dr. Arjun Appadurai about food and nationalism – food trucks, Maggi noodles, cook books and much more.

“While no one would argue that Bolivian farmers shouldn’t get a good price for their crop, these trends cannot be ignored—or left up to global market forces. Perhaps most tragic of all is that this boom (and booms are always followed by a bust) is leading the poorest, most vulnerable farmers to degrade their own environment—i.e. the material basis for their very survival and cultural identity—in the name of short-term food security.” Tanya Kerseen “Quinoa: To Buy or Not to Buy…Is This the Right Question?”

In this edition of TSI, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk quinoa with Tanya Kerssen, author of Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food, and Democracy in Northern Honduras.

As we observe Thanksgiving in the U.S., The Secret Ingredient takes a step back with this episode on Salmon with Valerie Segrest. Valerie is a native nutrition educator who specializes in local and traditional foods. As an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, she serves her community as the coordinator of the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project.

In 2010, she co-authored the book “Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture.” She received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2009 and a Masters Degree in Environment and Community from Antioch University. She was a fellow for the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy and was recently the first Native to receive the King County Municipal League’s Public Employee of the Year Award for 2015. Valerie inspires and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a simple, common sense approach to eating.

Photo by the Native PTAC.

Dr. Daniel Moshenberg discusses the wide-ranging impact of food on prisoners in the U.S. prison system. Dr. Moshenberg has worked with women in community-based organizations and social movements which are majority women but are not (yet) identified as women’s organizations or movements. That work has been under the aegis of women’s literacy development and promotion. Most of his hands-on field work has been based in the United States, primarily among immigrant women, and in South Africa. Daniel Moshenberg researches women’s involvement in mass incarceration and in mass household-based labor, largely in the context of global political economies. He is one of the conveners of Women In and Beyond the Global, an open access feminist project.

Photo by The Columbian

Raj Patel is an award winning food writer, activist and academic. The author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,” and his latest, “The Value of Nothing,” is a New…

We talk with anthropologist Sidney Mintz about his seminal work “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar In Modern History.” Mintz takes us through our prehistoric relationship to sweetness–from the bloody history of slavery and sugar production to our current state of the mass production and consumption of sweetness worldwide. He talks about how factories developed on the sugar plantations and the way slavery developed in the New World, as well as the role this brutal pasts plays in current volatile racial relations in the U.S..