America, We are Occupying the Food System: Interview with Marion Nestle

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Double Food Environmental Pyramid - Interview with Marion Nestle I’ve just wrapped the second day of Barilla's 3rd International Food and Nutrition Symposium , where sessions today focused on"disnutrition" (a term I love that was introduced here to encompass the issues of obesity and malnutrition), the BCFN Double Environmental Pyramid, and the role of nutrition in childhood and aging. Still, I was determined to find a nugget of positive action to bring back to America- what were there bright spots? Reasons to celebrate? To my wonderful surprise, my interview with “food movement mamma” Marion Nestle left me feeling not just a burst of American pride, but even more important, hope for my two children. Here’s what we dished about:

Kate: How do we translate what we’ve learned here into actionable steps in the US at the consumer level?

Marion Nestle: Well we are translating it. I see more action going on in the United States than I see going on here about the kinds of issues that are being discussed at this conference. This conference is way at the leading edge of what’s happening in Italy (she then talked about how meals at her hotel were devoid of veggies).

Kate: Marion, with all the emphasis at this Forum placed on creating an alternative food model, do you have any hope for this in the U.S.? Any bright spots we can feel good about?

Marion Nestle: I think the food movement is very hopeful in the US. I’ve already seen enormous changes, phenomenal changes as a result of the food movement, things that I never thought were possible, and mainstreamed in ways that nobody could have ever predicted.

 

Here’s what Marion Nestle touched on, in both her session and our interview, as bright spots in the US food System:

Seven Bright Spots in the US "Occupy Food" Movement:

1. You can now get a good (“or at least halfway decent, some better than others”) selection of fruits and vegetables in any supermarket in America

2. The number of farmers markets has dramatically increased in just the last few years

3: More and more people joining CSAs than ever before

4: Urban farming is the rage (“in New York City of all places!”)

5: Local food has become really, really important

6: Much better food in schools

7: Greater awareness, like the NYC anti soda campaign.

 

Now that's something to toast on the long ride home tomorrow. What do you think are the  bright spots for seeds of change in the US Food system? I'd love to hear from you!

To see a recap of the twitter conversation check out my handle @greeneating, the conference  hashtag #BCFNforum, or the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition webinar page (who, in full  disclosure, sponsored my posts from the conference).