“The Salt,” National Public Radio • Oct. 13, 2015
Earlier this month, Wal-Mart trumpeted that it had beaten a goal it set five years ago: to open at least 275 stores in food deserts by 2016. That targeted expansion into “neighborhoods without access to fresh affordable groceries” came as part of the retailer’s “healthier food initiative,” lauded by — and launched with — First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011. Wal-Marts have been popping up in lower-income urban areas where grocery stores are scarce ever since.
But new research suggests that plugging food access holes with big box stores may not lead to healthier habits. According to a study just published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Americans’ junk food calories increasingly come from big box stores rather than traditional grocers. Continue reading “Why Wal-Mart And Other Retail Chains May Not Fix The Food Deserts”
Slate; Food and Environment Reporting Network
Nov. 19, 2014
(1) “Everybody Was Talking About It”
A couple of years ago, as winter gave way to spring, Toyoda Ruff began to think about changing how she ate. Ruff had always been heavy, but her son, Tarik, a freshman honor student, had recently crossed the 300-pound mark, prompting Ruff to ferry him to appointments at a children’s weight loss clinic, 11 miles away in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, and to document everything he ate for two months. At 270 pounds, her husband, Jermaine Harris, wanted to slim down, too. Ruff was beginning to see her family’s weekly fast-food habit and visits to Golden Corral’s all-you-can-eat buffet as a problem.
As Ruff mulled over these changes, a friend cajoled her into joining a healthy cooking class at their church. Ruff was on medical leave from her job as a probation officer due to an injury, and the break gave her time to consider her meals. The more she thought about eating healthy, the more intrigued she was by a new store: Whole Foods, which had just opened in Detroit. “It was on the news. People were talking about it at church,” Ruff said. “Everybody was talking about it.” Continue reading “Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat?”
James Beard Foundation Food Conference • October 28, 2014
At this year’s James Beard Foundation Food Conference, “Health and Food: Is Better Food a Prescription for a Healthier America?” I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on Food, Health & Place: Why Equity Matters, with leading experts in food and equity.
Continue reading “Food, Health and Place: Why Equity Matters”
I wrote the foreword for this thoughtful collection of academic work examining food access in America, edited by the wonderful Kimberly Morland.
Local Food Environments: Food Access in America provides information on the complex nature of food delivery systems as well as the historical and political trends that have shaped them over time. The book presents the empirical evidence demonstrating disparities in access to healthy affordable foods across the United States and how these disparities may explain food consumption patterns for some Americans as well as potential risks for diet-related illness.
This sharp piece from Slate’s LV Anderson brings class angst to the fore, and while I don’t envy her target — Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who entertained us by descending on America’s fattest town with dancing flash mobs brandishing woks and utensils—I am flattered to be held in esteemed company: Continue reading “Nice shout out from Slate’s LV Anderson as she tears into Jamie Oliver”
Here’s what I”m thinking on my way to the James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards tonight, where The American Way of Eating—as well as a feature I wrote on farm labor contracting for The American Prospect—is up for an award:: Continue reading “James Beard Awards: A deep if problematic honor”
Take Part • Feb. 20, 2013
Tracie McMillan, 2013 Knight-Wallace Fellow and author of The American Way of Eating
“Food stamps gave me hope: That I was going to get through that rough patch; that it was, in fact, a rough patch and not the ret of my life; that even if I was ashamed to ask for help, at least someone -even the government-could provide when I did. In a way, food stamps are like Kick-starter for poor people; they provide proof that you, and your health are worth something. Healthy food was the most important thing I got from SNAP, but the validation was a close second.” Continue reading “How One Vital Food Program Propelled These 17 People to Success”
USFRA • Nov. 15, 2012
Today’s consumers have more access to information concerning food than ever before. During this panel, the conversation centered on the types of information consumers access and use to make decisions about their food choices.
Questions addressed included – What more can be done to ensure consumers have access to the right kind of information? What tools are marketers using to promote certain types of food choices over others? What additional voices are needed to help consumers navigate the supermarket and restaurant menu?
I”m still getting used to seeing portraits of myself, but I can’t complain about the roster of talent that Martha Stewart Whole Living put me in line with in their November issue’s Food Visionary List:
- Dan Barber
- Wendell Berry
- Michael Bloomberg
- Jeff Bridges
- Maisie Greenawalt
- Will Harris
- Wes Jackson
- Abeni Massey
- Jim McGovern
- Marion Nestle
- Nell Newman
- Michel Nischan
- Ellen Pikitch
- Marcus Samuelsson
- Bill Shore
- Marla Spivak