Food injustice has deep roots: let’s start with America’s apple pie
Written by Raj Patel
From amnesia about apple pie to burger battlefields, author and academic Raj Patel says today’s food justice fights have long, bloody histories
Resting on gingham cloth, a sugar-crusted apple pie cools on the window sill of a midwestern farmhouse. Nothing could be more American. Officially American. The Department of Defense once featured the pie in an online collection of American symbols, alongside Uncle Sam, and cowboys.
Not that apples are particularly American. Apples were first domesticated in Central Asia, making the journey along the Silk Road to the Mediterranean four thousand years ago. Apples traveled to the western hemisphere with Spanish colonists in the 1500s in what used to be called the Columbian Exchange, but is now better understood as a vast and ongoing genocide of Indigenous people.
Seven out of the ten worst paying jobs in America are in the food system, and women are over-represented in them
The US was made by finding ever lower labour costs, and workers always fought back. Food justice, and its opposite, are of a piece
Raj Patel is the author of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System. He is currently working on a documentary and book about the future of the food system
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