Sections
Home » Issues » How to Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It » Frances Moore Lappé: Delicious Food Is Not An Indulgence—It’s a Way to Solve Our Ecological Crises

Get a FREE Issue. Yes! I want to try YES! Magazine

Nonprofit. Independent. Subscriber-supported. DONATE. How you can support our work.

YES! by Email
Join over 78,000 others already signed up for FREE YES! news.
[SAMPLE]
How to Eat Like Our Lives Depend on It

68 Cover

Rediscover the Joy of Real Food, Spiced with Love and Tradition in the Winter 2014 Issue of YES! Magazine

The YES! ChicoBag(R). Full-size tote that fits in your pocket!

 

Frances Moore Lappé: Delicious Food Is Not An Indulgence—It’s a Way to Solve Our Ecological Crises

Since I first published “Diet for a Small Planet” in 1971, the movement for food that is good for our bodies and our planet has blossomed beyond what I ever imagined. Here’s how.
— tags:

Carrots photo by Paul Dunn

Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine.

I grew up in Cow Town. Or make that Fort Worth, Texas. It was the ’50s and supper was canned spinach with either meat loaf or with what my brother and I called “loose meat”—ground beef and canned mushroom soup. Iceberg lettuce and Jell-O rounded it out.

Food was not a big deal.

68 Cover

But when I ended up in Berkeley in the ’60s, food was a big deal. The food scene buzzed with experimentation. We rejected white-bread culture, and eating brown rice became a political statement. With stirfried veggies, what could be better? At the same time, food became my teacher: I spent long hours in the university agriculture library trying to figure out why there was so much hunger in the world. Were we really running out of food? Well, no, there was more than enough for all. I was more startled to discover that we humans are actually creating scarcity.

The global marketplace is driven by underlying economic rules that concentrate wealth and generate extreme inequality. Millions of people are too poor to pay market price for food. So grain that could feed the hungry instead becomes a raw material for a luxury product: grain-fed meat.

How illogical, how destructive! I don’t have to be part of that, I realized. It dawned on me that eating low on the food chain—a plant-centered diet—was best for others, my body, and the Earth. The ultimate win-win.

Like what you’re reading? YES! is nonprofit and relies on reader support.
Click here to chip in $5 or more
to help us keep the inspiration coming.

I never felt I was “giving up” anything. It soon dawned on this daughter of Cow Town that, while animal foods come in a few shapes and flavors, the world of plant food is almost endless: Think of green, red, yellow veggies. Root foods—from yams to purple potatoes. Legumes, including peas, beans, lentils, each with jillions of varieties. Fruits, from the bright, giant watermelon to the dark, delicate fig.

I learned that nuts and seeds are not just for the birds. I started trying out different taste combinations. What … you mean mushrooms and barley make a great casserole? I scandalized my Lebanese girlfriend by adding garbanzos to my tabbouleh. I had a great old time making up stuff.

I felt not deprived but liberated. In Berkeley, we were sprouting a movement that was not about sacrifice but about rediscovering the deliciousness of the Earth. Since I first published Diet for a Small Planet in 1971, I’ve watched that movement blossom around the world—it has grown far beyond what I could ever have imagined. In the United States, there are more than four times as many farmers markets as there were nearly two decades ago. There are thriving organizations all over the country that save seeds, grow a vividly colorful palette of thousands of kinds of food plants, and develop wild and organic farms where crops coexist alongside habitat for butterflies and birds. Biodiversity, as it turns out, can make a farm more productive. And well-tended organic soil can store carbon—so good food is also a solution to climate change.

In the past four decades, food has taught me what is possible. I have realized that delicious eating is not an indulgence. It is the body’s way of reminding us how we can solve the ecological crises we face. All of us long for good food, and I believe that it’s possible for a groundswell of food lovers to heal the Earth—as millions of us align our taste buds with what the planet and people need.


Frances Moore LappeFrances Moore Lappé wrote this article for How to Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It, the Winter 2014 issue of YES! Frances is the author or co-author of 18 books, including the bestseller Diet for a Small Planet and her most recent book, EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want. She is a YES! contributing editor.

More Stories

Email Signup
How to Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It
Comment on this article

How to add a commentCommenting Policy

comments powered by Disqus


You won’t see any commercial ads in YES!, in print or on this website.
That means, we rely on support from our readers.

||   SUBSCRIBE    ||   GIVE A GIFT   ||   DONATE   ||
Independent. Nonprofit. Subscriber-supported.




Current Issue Footer

Filed under:
Personal tools