julie guthman

If anything, I find that [Michael] Pollan’s critiques, especially, do not go far enough since they don’t effectively challenge inequality in the food system. Eating local, organic, seasonal food that you prepared yourself may be pleasurable but it is not universally so, nor is it tantamount to effecting social justice. Of course, Pollan is echoing what many in the alternative-food movement for years have asked us to do: buy sustainably produced food, so that the market will respond and the food system will eventually transform to provide food that is grown with attention to agroecological principles. Not only is that logic highly aspirational but … the alternative-food movement’s embrace of, well, alternatives that are in seeming opposition to what is bad in the food system works against broader transformation. This is because the creation of alternatives simultaneously produces places and people that for various reasons cannot be served by an alternative and therefore are put beyond consideration.
—  Julie Guthman, in Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism
It’s weird but I’ve never realized obesity was such an emotional issue. It is so political–but not just for fat people … I mean most of the people in this class that have strong viewpoints aren’t themselves fat, but I get the feeling that they are anti-fat. But why do fat people make people mad?
—  Student in a Politics of Obesity course. “Weighing In–Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism” by Julie Guthman