Food Justice

The Role of Responsibility in Talking About Food Policy

by Ricky Angel

This paper explores the attribution of responsibility for food policy areas in “Health and
Nutrition”, “Sustainability”, and “Food Access and Security” by looking at how the media
frames these issues and how people receive that frame. The attribution of responsibility as a
frame was developed by Shanto Iyengar, UCLA professor of communications studies and political science. Iyengar argues that there are two forms of responsibility, causal and treatment.
Causal responsibility is about the cause and origins of the problem, while treatment responsibility is about who or what should be the solution (1991, p. 8). Further, Iyengar has noted that the storytelling frames concerned with responsibility are episodic and thematic. Episodic stories generally focus on individuals and individual events that are divorced from larger society. Thematic stories, in contrast, focus on larger society and generally makes connections to systemic causes and solutions.

Read the full paper here.

Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice

by Eric Holt-Gimenéz and Raj Patel with Annie Shattuck

In their book, Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice, authors Eric Holt-Giménez and Raj Patel with Annie Shattuck offer us the real story behind the global food crisis and document the growing trend of grassroots solutions to hunger spreading around the world. Food Rebellions! contains up to date information about the current political and economic realities of our food systems. Anchored in political economy and an historical perspective, it is a valuable academic resource for understanding the root causes of hunger, growing inequality, the industrial agri-foods complex, and political unrest.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

by Eric Schlosser

from “What we eat has changed more in the last forty years than in the last forty thousand,” Eric Schlosser writes in Fast Food Nation, yet Americans know frightfully little about how that food is made, where, by whom, and at what cost. Schlosser’s debut traces the industry’s phenomenal growth from its birth fifty years ago in southern California to its global reach today, from the feedlots and slaughterhouses of America’s new rural ghettos to cutting-edge laboratories where tastes are manufactured and finally to the teenagers handing you french fries at the drive-thru window.


Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

by Barry Estabrook

“In this eye-opening exposé, Vermont journalist Estabrook traces the sad, tasteless life of the mass-produced tomato, from its chemical-saturated beginnings in south Florida to far-flung supermarkets. Expanding on his 2010 James Beard Award-winning article in Gourmet magazine, Estabrook first looks at the tomato’s ancestors in Peru, grown naturally in coastal deserts and Andean foothills, with fruit the size of large peas. Crossbreeding produced bigger, juicier varieties, and by the late 19th century, Florida had muscled in on the U.S. market, later benefiting from the embargo on Cuban tomatoes; the Sunshine State now produces one-third of the fresh tomatoes in this country. To combat sandy soil devoid of nutrients, and weather that breeds at least 27 insect species and 29 diseases that prey on the plants, Florida growers bombard tomato plants with a dizzying cocktail of herbicides and pesticides, then gas the “mature greens” (fruit plucked so early from the vines that they bounce without a scratch) with ethylene. Behind the scenes, moreover, there exists a horrendous culture of exploitation of Hispanic laborers in places like Immokalee, where pesticide exposure has led to birth defects and long-term medical ailments. Estabrook concludes this thought-provoking book with some ideas from innovators trying to build a better tomato.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Read an excerpt of the book here.