Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition
, 4:251–281, 2009Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1932-0248 print/1932-0256 onlineDOI: 10.1080/19320240903336977
WHEN1932-02481932-0256 Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, Vol. 4, No. 3-4, October 2009: pp. 0–0 Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition
Today’s Food System: How Healthy Is It?
Today’s Food System: How Healthy Is It?D. Wallinga
University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
With its focus on the quantity of production, often to the exclusionof other goals, today’s food system is on an unsustainable course.The problem begins with and is driven by industrialized productionof both crops and animals. Industrialization is a product of tech-nological change, public policy, and, most recently, globalized trade. The lack of sustainability derives from reliance on the intensive use of nonrenewable and hard-to-renew resources—soil,antibiotics, fresh water, and fossil fuels, for example—but also from the waste and pollution created by the industrial model. For at least 50 years, American agriculture policies have promoted production of, and ultimately lower market prices for, commodity crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans. Over the last 3 decades in particular, these “cheap food” policies have exacerbated the nega-tive impacts of an industrialized agriculture on the health of the agro-ecosystem, as well as on the health of the humans who must share and be sustained by it. Sustainability and health are two sides of the same food system coin. Policies that put US food pro-duction on more sustainable footing can help aid in public efforts to address the myriad crises confronting both the food and health systems. KEYWORDSfood systems, industrialization, systems thinking,agriculture policy, ecological public health
This article was supported by funding from the Wm. T. Grant Foundation.
Address correspondence to David Wallinga, MD, MPA, Director of the Food and HealthProgram, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2105 First Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN55404. E-mail:email@example.com
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