Is the United States food system broken?

This is the first of some guest blogs, this one is written by my good friend Anthony Pannone. Anthony is from California, he can be found on twitter @vegagrizzly and facebook. And he hopes  you want  to exchange wits and words, because he is more than willing!

Is the United States food system broken?  

No, is the quickest answer to that question but not the simplest. Another answer is, I don’t know—a much safer answer, albeit a cop out. To answer Yes would invite the same workload as answering No, and to provide reasons why you answered either Yes or No doesn’t matter because your reasons and my reasons don’t hang out together, and if they did my reasons would grow tired of your reasons and would change, causing, perhaps, your reasons to change and then the whole party would be an argument during which we explain why our reasons changed.

On top of that, these days more and more curious people want their questions answered with replies dripping with profound substance, concrete evidence, the facts! Indeed the consumers of the information age want thoroughly researched information bound together with capital T-truth. Yet, no capital T-truth exists—for our realities differ day to day and life to life, and you’re not me nor I you, and evidence that supports one experience means nothing to another.

Even in each person’s alternate reality, “broken” is the wrong word to describe the current and evolving U.S. food system. The food system is not broken—the food system, if anything, is unfair. Unfair is not the same as broken. Unfair is people enrolled in government welfare programs, people on the streets and under bridges, people who never cook at home because they can afford to eat out all the time, and on and on—but being unfair is not the food systems fault. The fault is ours, collectively, passed down from the past. And because of the past, the raging inequality, a.k.a. the unfairness, leads consumers to fight for theirs, to claim for themselves what’s best, promoting selfishness and leaving fairness out of the system on the sideline, its head down and hands in its jean pockets kicking rocks into an empty metal coffee can.

Life isn’t fair and isn’t supposed to be. Sometimes, I believe, we forget that we live in nature, in accordance with laws beyond the ego’s capacity to understand and to control. Yes, for a majority of people (me included), the food system works fine, nature provides, and we don’t have to worry, to wonder, whether the food system is broken or if it’s cheating. And for many others, the food system sucks, and they want change, and they want equality, and they want transparency, and they want and they want and they want. But what do they NEED?

Thank god I’m awake to know our food system is unfair—that’s why I’m food proud and don’t care because, well, I don’t have to care because I have access to food whenever I want. Call it a privileged life, sure, but it is what it is and one of my favorite perks of my reality.

th66th888peace man

Cheers to being food proud…


Adios Compadres,

Anthony Pannone


One thought on “Is the United States food system broken?

  1. If we accept the CDC’c claim that over 75% of the health care expenditures in the US are due to conditions resulting from poor diet selections, does that suggest anything about whether or not the food system is ‘broken’? Some would say, no, the food system is fine it is the consumers that are broken. I ask, would the consumers be broken of we had a different food system?

    There are many different ways to interpret your original question. Yes, food of one sort or another is abundant in this country and generally affordable. But if the abundant, cheap food forms contribute to ill health, does that not suggest the food system is broken in the broader sense of human health?

    We could also get into the question of how the food system is impacting environmental health. If we have a food system that is degrading our natural resources, id the food system not broken in that sense also?

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