Americans are in the midst of a food-consciousness revival: on television, in the mouth of the First Lady, in endless articles celebrating urban agriculture can be found a sudden enthusiasm for the politically and, perhaps, spiritually curated dinner table. In this special section, writers explore the perilous state of food and food politics in America and a wide range of responses on the Left. Marion Nestle, in her essay on the farm bill, describes how the existing policy disaster came to be, along with the relationship between Reagan-era deregulation and the obesity epidemic. Mark Engler describes both the successes and coopting of the strands of left-wing responses—buying organic, eating local, and agitating for fair trade—and asks, "What's a radical to eat?" Laurie Woolever uncovers the kind of labor exploitation endemic to the elite dining experience. Karen Bakker Le Billon compares American to French school lunches, unpacking the relationship between food and citizenship. Juliana DeVries explores vegetarianism and the politics of everyday life.


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