Food Myths



I stopped by ousting Anna. If her family is originally from France. I thought when I was a kid for the longest time of course I thought it was French which seemed really exciting but I learned learning about my family history that we were actually Russian Jewish radicals. And you're still pretty radical. Yes yes I would say. I'm still pretty radical and I feel like I do come from a pretty radical lineage. Both to me. The definition of radical is that you are curious to go to the roots of the crises. That face us and not only do you go to those routes but then when you discover what those roots are you try to do something to change them so. My parents were both very radical and grandparents. Great grandparents. Yeah. We were sitting here with two books. One is your mom's Diet for a small planet and we'll talk about your Diet Fra Hot Planet. Your Mom Francis was right here in Berkeley. In the early seventies became kind of obsessed with looking at protein and she went to the library and basically came out with this entire theory. That blew away. You know years and years decades of thinking about that. There wasn't enough food on the planet and she was like No. There's plenty of food. There's just not enough democracy in distribution they growing up in that environment. Do you remember those times what I always take away from? My mother's story is both the need for all of us to keep asking those deep questions of why. Why is this happening? And and how do we actually fix it from its roots but also I think a lesson about the power of What Buddhists call the beginner's mind I think about in the story of Jane Goodall there? She was actually discovering what the experts literally couldn't see because they had the blinders of their expertise. And I think the story of my mother is the same thing she was this young woman. Who was discovering these answers to these deep questions by looking at the evidence? And she didn't have the blinders of any expertise around her. And I think that is a really powerful lesson to be. Learned no matter what you care about. The apple didn't for that far from the tree. That was having a conversation with someone who also is doing very similar work to his parents and he said he put it this way he was like. There is so much in the world to rebel against. I didn't need to rebel against the politics of my parents. And I feel that way as well But I will say personally this. This work wasn't what I thought I would do when I was younger. We were almost upon the thirtieth anniversary year of my mother's bestselling book this book diet for a small planet and like a lot of children. I had a really clear sense of what my mother should do with her life. And maybe not such a clear sense about my own and I sat her down New York City and said mom you have to write the sequel to this book. You touched so many lives but you really laughed and unanswered question. Which is that if your core thesis was that the problem of hunger is a problem of democracy then you left open this question of then what is democracy. And what is real democracy? Look like and how do we build communities? Whether is the kind of democratic engagement that will actually create healthy communities where people are not hungry and they get access to good healthy food so we said you should write a sequel exploring that question into that. I'll do this book if you will be my research assistant so I was in Grad school at the time and ended up signing on to work on this book with her and I went from research assistant to then be the CO author of this book together Co Authoring. This book together was for me. The life changing experience that made me realize that I wanted to work for food systems. Transformation for the rest of my life. So what were those powerful like? What was the realization sitting there working on the book with your mom so for that book. We traveled together to India Poland France Brazil Bangladesh and several places in the US and we remain friends to this day. Everywhere we went and everybody we met would have been a life changing moment. Put it all together even more so in the course of a year have this intimate close up view of both the potential around the world to really actually grow food and ways. That's good for communities in good for people but also to see the incredible global reach and impact of US based food companies food and chemical companies to see it all so clearly. You see the spread of a really highly processed diet. That's been terrible for our health that is going global. The other thing we really saw was the impact of US policies trade policies aid policies and develop policies. I know those in between books but the Diet for planet reading it after. Your Mom's book feels very much also like a sequel. I wanted to name it. Di- ever for a hot planet to be very explicit about the lineage of the work and what I talk about in Diet for a hot planet is fundamentally that in addition to the social and economic costs that my mother described Diet for a small planet of a very industrialized food system that's dependent on chemical inputs depending on synthetic fertilizer. That's about extracting resources from nature not working with nature that in addition to those costs that she described almost fifty years ago that there is this other cost which is the climate impact and I started writing diaper planet because I read a study. That blew my mind. It was the first global assessment of emissions related to livestock. It was called livestocks. Long Shadow was done by the United Nations. It found that livestock related emissions. Were responsible for more of the climate impact than all transportation combined and what we see in the food system are the kinds of solutions that would reduce food sector. Emissions are also that are better for farmer health better for our health better for biodiversity better for all the things that we also care about and that by talking about food as part of the climate conversation. We're really have an opportunity to showcase food as a really a key solution beyond have any recipes at the end. Your mom had a lot of recipes. I was I was thinking like I wonder why am I didn't put recipes so funny yes now. There is big debate to the recipes. Go into the not go in and in between these books that we've already talked about. I actually wrote a cookbook with a colleague. Bryant Terry and that has recipes. It's called

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