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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

In Defense of Gardens

Caitlin Flanagan is right: I am an educated, middle-class woman whose school voluntarism is “a locus of (my) fathomless energies.” When I see students whose support system, for a myriad of reasons, has failed them, I want to do something about it. And I am one of the Alice Waters groupies Flanagan talks about in her January 2010 Atlantic Monthly article, so when I want to effect change, one of the places I turn is the Life Lab garden Flanagan writes is “cheating our most vulnerable students.” Read more