Plant-Based Diets Won’t Stop American Imperialism

With zero incentive for change, big agriculture will always get bailouts

Chris Newman
Heated
Published in
4 min readMay 22, 2020

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Racism, environmental decline, animal welfare, and human health are tied in a Gordian Knot around the issue of food. Common sense would suggest untying it be left to people with demonstrated expertise in its varying facets:

With that in mind, it’s curious that messaging on this intractable problem is dominated by the people arguably least qualified to speak: white non-experts hailing from a nation founded explicitly on racism, saddled with a schizophrenic dominant food culture extracted from an environment in utter freefall.

Jonathan Foer — a novelist and creative writing professor — is the latest in a long line of authors continuing in this tradition. He was recently handed a bullhorn in the form of a New York Times opinion piece. In it, he buries a couple of good-if-copy-pasted points (e.g. Americans probably eat too much protein, CAFO agriculture is a huge problem) inside a mass of misinformation about animal agriculture’s share of GHG emissions, clumsy pairings of racial justice with conscientious consumerism, and lazy dismissals of alternatives — all bound together by the collective gravity of a litany of omissions.

Don’t get me started on this guy.

The sin that drives America’s food/race/environment problem isn’t animal agriculture. It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about: the United States stole far and away more land than “necessary” from its Indigenous inhabitants, and our modern food system is the end result of 243 years…

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Chris Newman
Heated

Building a new, accessible, open, and democratic food economy in the Chesapeake Bay region @ Sylvanaqua Farms