Article: Today’s Debate- Will Prop 37 Inspire a Real Food Movement?

I’ve had my issues with Michael Pollan in the past. I read In Defense of Food years ago and I kept getting frustrated by what I considered to be oversimplified conclusions to some complex issues. This pretty much summarizes my ongoing internal debate about nutrition. Sometimes I feel that learning the hard science behind human biology and our systemic responses to food on the molecular level is absolutely crucial to healthy living. Other times I think to hell with it, and to just be as ‘natural’ as possible while staying active and educated about food labels. Pollan hits those triggers for me. He has a way of straightforwardly discussing these dense topics in a manageable way that makes it easier to digest (sorry, couldn’t resist) for the layman. Unfortunately I tend to overcomplicate, overanalyze, and overthink so I tend to resist anything that seems too easy. Go figure.

That said, the question of what’s ‘natural’ is raised quite often in food politics. As we all try to determine what works for us and how to navigate the clogged waters of healthy eating, there’s been a movement brewing beneath the surface. Or has there? I speak so much about nutrition and surround myself with many like-minded people so I can approach these subjects with a bit of a foundation. But how many people out there have an opinion about GMOs? How many people even know what a GMO is? As we get closer to the presidential election, the question of our national food policy regarding the government’s regulation of GMOs and industry standard for “natural” labeling on products becomes critical to our future health.

California’s Proposition 37 carries significant weight as a litmus test for American food politics. As Pollan puts it,

California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M) foods carry a label, has the potential to do just that-to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too…What is at stake this time around is not just the fate of genetically modified crops but the public’s confidence in the industrial food chain.

Indeed we are at a tipping point. I live in a city where the mayor has managed to get a law passed that will regulate the size of soft drinks sold to the public. There are all kinds of public health initiatives and propaganda that are pushing a healthy food agenda in our schools and homes. The obesity rate has reached record highs and over 30% of the US population is overweight. If that’s not enough impetus to stand up and take a side one way or another, I’m not sure what is.

I won’t go into the details of GMOs and what each of the Prop 37 points mean because I’d be here forever. One day I’ll come back to this, but for now I encourage you to dig a little deeper and do some research. Educate yourselves on these topics because I promise you they will be playing big roles in your day to day lives.

So I turn the mic over to all of you. What do you think about the current food movement in the US (or wherever you are!) and do you think there’s more that can/should be done? How do you feel about GMOs? What are your views on Prop 37- are you for or against? Do you think we should have government define ‘natural’ and legislate accordingly? Do you think our food movement is doing enough to shake up our current political paradigm?  I’m interested in your thoughts and opinions. It’s an open forum and all voices are welcome. 🙂

For additional information about GMOs, please visit my friend Eva’s blog at Healthy Glow Nutrition for her take on GMOs and check out the links as well.

To read Michael Pollan’s entire interview with NYTimes Magazine, Vote for the Dinner Party: Is this the year that the food movement finally enters politics?
, please click here. Pollan also participated in a Reddit IAMA where he answered all sorts of questions related to this article and other food policy issues.

Read. Understand. Discuss. Happy Tuesday folks! 🙂

9 Replies to “Article: Today’s Debate- Will Prop 37 Inspire a Real Food Movement?”

  1. I am never in favor or regulating what is available to us, HOWEVER I am strongly in favor of requiring food manufacturers to provide us with all the information we need to make that decision. The food movement has already begun. I just hope everyone realizes it’s not US and THEM, but it’s all US.
    This is just the beginning……


    1. Well said. I like your point about all of us, because its true: were all in this together for the long haul. I don’t believe that people want things to stay the same but there needs to be a bigger emphasis on nutrition education, especially for children. Thanks so much for commenting!!


  2. Wonderful and informative post, Maribel! Thank you for the mention by the way, I appreciate it! I did a speech in school on GMO’s and and even my fellow nutrition students didn’t have a clue about all the crazy stuff that is going on GMO’s, so how could the general public? I found it infuriating when I was doing my research and went on Health Canada’s website to read about their take on GMO’s…they said that it is acceptable and perfectly ok to eat! What kind of research was behind their findings? And if it so “safe” why not have mandatory labelling in Canada? All this made and makes me crazy! I do follow what goes on in the US as we are neighbors and watch the debates as well. When I did my post from Dr Mercola’s website on GMO’s it made me sick that the current and past President’s are best buds with Monsanto. Who are we to believe? Who has our best interests at heart? We have to be our own advocates and ask questions. I am all about asking questions but the answers are sometimes very hard to come by. All we can do is do our best to educate ourselves and the public via our blogs, our friends and our colleagues. Soon enough changes will have to be made on a big level. Sorry for the long post.
    xo Éva


    1. Don’t apologize, this is exactly what I want! I remember you mentioned having done research on GMOs so I knew you would have a lot more info on this then me. There’s still a ton I want to read about and this article sort of fell in my lap. But you’re right- its infuriating! The big problem here too is that so much of our food policy is dictated by big agriculture and lobbyists whose only interest is the bottom line. It is extremely difficult to.figure out what the correct path is to regulating food on the national level but its not good when our representatives are “in bed” with the businesses that offer nothing beneficial for our nutrition. My recent paleo research reinforces some of these points too (more on that soon) but not everyone can make these dietary changes or even want to. You’re also right that we have to start with ourselves and our communities in order to affect change. Ah so many things to say on this topic. I can be here forever!! Thanks so much for your opinions Eva!!


      1. It is my pleasure to be a part of a discussion and topic that I am so passionate about. I am also intrigued by the paleo “diet/lifestyle” and may decide to try it for myself. I can also go on forever with discussing the state of our food and GMO’s. Sometimes I feel like the only one who gives a damn (glad to see that it isn’t true) When our politicians are in”bed” with businesses like Monsanto we have a very big problem. They say change begins with a single step…well if that is the case then we (you and me) are on the right track Maribel 🙂 Have a great day!


  3. Last night Bill Maher’s guest was Chairman of Stonyfield Farms. What a wonderful session.

    Many eyes are on this proposition. I am worried. We need to know! What happens in California will impact other states.

    Bill was not very pretty when he mentioned Monsanto! If you have a chance to watch the beginning of his show last night, you will enjoy it!

    Thank you again for you and Eva! Both of you brought this to light with your blogs!


    1. Thanks Judy! Yes, I’ll definitely check this out sometime this weekend. I feel like there’s still so much to learn about how our government tackles food legislation but what we do know is so egregious that it leaves me anxious for our future. I’m glad to be part of the dialogue with you, Eva, and all the rest who are out there looking for a healthy solution to this mess. Ugh. Ok, now I’m off to the farmers market for some GMO-free food! Happy Saturday! 🙂


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