Walmart to Applebee’s: The Untold Secret of American Food

The Fiscal Times • March 1, 2012

With the number of overweight Americans skyrocketing, and the health care costs associated with obesity at nearly $150 billion a year, it’s hard to believe that only 5 percent of the $18 billion in farm subsidies the government spent in 2010 went to fruit and vegetables. Corn and soy – key ingredients for processed foods and fatty proteins – got the lion’s share with 42 percent.

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The High Price of Food

Book Page • March 2012

When journalist Tracie McMillan covered a cooking class run by a youth services agency in New York City, she got to know one of the teenage students. Vanessa, who liked fruits and vegetables, knew that she should eat better. But eating healthy was so expensive, and Burger King was so close.

McMillan, who has written about food, poverty and the politics of both for publications such as the New York Times and Harper’s Magazine, got curious. Why can’t everyone get access to the same food?

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Our Unhappy Meals

OnEarth • Feb. 29, 2012

Every year, Americans drop a cool $1.2 trillion on feeding their appetites. That’s a lot of Big Macs and stuffed-to-groaning shopping carts — and billions of dollars in profits for the handful of companies that dominate our food system.

Planting, harvesting, processing, displaying, and cooking that vast hoard of grub, of course, requires veritable armies of workers. Keeping it cheap and plentiful for consumers, while also profitable for the food industry, means those workers generally get paid very little.

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The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

GoodFood World • Feb. 29, 2012

What if you can’t afford nine-dollar tomatoes? That was the question award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan couldn’t escape as she watched the debate about America’s meals unfold, one that urges us to pay food’s true cost—which is to say, pay more. So in 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters.

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Going Undercover in the Belly of Our Beastly Food Chain

Huff Post Food • Feb. 29, 2012

Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table takes us on a vivid and poignant tour of a place we don’t really want to go: the mostly hidden, sometimes horrible world of the workers who form the backbone of our cheap, industrialized food chain. Sound grim? It is, at times, but McMillan’s lively narrative and evident empathy for the people she encounters make her sojourn into the bowels of Big Food and Big Ag a pleasure to read.

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