Transformative Change Eludes the Well-Meaning but Fractured Food Movement
Mark Winne may not have invented food policy councils, but he has probably done more than anyone in the U.S. to popularize them over his more than four decades of experience working in the food movement. In the last 15 years, Winne has traveled the country and the world, working with hundreds of organizations as a consultant and trainer. From this vantage point, in Stand Together or Starve Alone, he laments the failure of the food movement to achieve deep and lasting change, despite the growing momentum surrounding the food movement. Citing dismal numbers that show food insecurity only getting worse in the richest country in the world—while obesity has eclipsed tobacco use as the United States’ most pressing public health issue—Winne asks why so little progress has been made in 50 years of the food revolution. His answer: both the food movement’s inability to collaborate across sectors, and each sector’s inability to look critically at its own assumptions about its role in the food system. He cites as an example the rise of the food bank as one of the most important nonprofit institutions in many communities, calling this a “dubious measure of success.” Charity feeding programs have not turned the ship around with regard to hunger or obesity in the U.S., partly, Winne argues, because they are working, like other sectors, without a “shared understanding of the causes of our food problems.”
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