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Elitism is Dead: The New Debate for the Good Food Movement

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, farmer, poet and food movement hero Wendell Berry, physicist and seed-saving advocate Vandana Shiva, nutritionist and professor Marion Nestle, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales were among the speakers at The Future of Food, a conference put on by the Washington Post at Georgetown University.

The media was quick to focus on the comments by Prince Charles, who has been farming land on his Highgrove Estate for 26 years and selling produce under the name Duchy Originals, the profits of which are given to charities. But though the Prince gave a thorough and informed 45-minute speech about soil loss, the importance of biodiversity, and a critique of U.S. agriculture policy (you can read the whole speech here), some media and online comments focused on the perceived hypocrisy of the Prince as an environmentalist with a huge carbon footprint, and the old fall-back of detractors of the food movement: Elitism. Read more

Food Safety Bill Clears Final Hurdle, Heads to President’s Desk

Ending a dramatic months-long legislative limbo, the House approved major food safety legislation 215-144 Tuesday. The FDA Food Safety Modernization act, the first significant reform of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s oversight over the food supply since 1938, is expected to be signed by President Obama before Christmas.

The legislation survived a near-fatal constitutional snafu, fierce debate over controversial amendments, filibuster threats, and managed to gain ground amidst a jam-packed legislative agenda in one of the most productive Congresses in recent history. In the last 18 months, food safety legislation cleared the Senate twice and the House three times. Read more