Air date: May 9, 2019
Kevin D. Walker, PhD, Michigan State University
Two full lifetimes ago consuming more calories was always welcome, taste was secondary and having enough food defined everyday life. Nowadays, the opposite holds true: our society is awash in calories and individuals expect their food to satisfy personal tastes and lifestyle preferences. Finding ways to turn out more food created new possibilities and made living easier. Yet, while we have been busy changing food, food has been changing us in unexpected and unforeseen ways.
The modern food system relies on an illusion. It depends on endless abundance, but the planet has its limits. So too does a healthcare system that must absorb rising rates of diabetes and obesity. Shifting our mindset is essential, and It starts with remembering that what we eat affects the wider world. If each of us decides that bigger isn’t always better, we can renegotiate the grand food bargain, one individual decision at a time.
Kevin D. Walker grew up farming and has seen almost every facet of agriculture firsthand: working in agribusiness at the US Department of Agriculture, overseas with international nonprofits, and as a professor at Michigan State University. He has served on committees with the National Academies Institute of Medicine and National Research Council and as a consultant to foreign governments and the World Trade Organization. Dr. Walker’s book, The Grand Food Bargain: and the Mindless Drive for More, was released in March 2019.