Taking aim at myths, food experts share insights in Philly

    The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is hosting a series of community discussions this fall on food and health. 

    Anna Lappé, who went into the family business, is one of the big-name food experts coming to Philadelphia this month. Nearly 40 years ago, her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, wrote about the root causes of hunger and a critique of the food system, called “Diet for a Small Planet.”

    The younger Lappé, also an author, calls herself a “sustainable food advocate.” For her, that means supporting a particular way of eating and producing food.

    “If you farm this way you can continue to get abundant food from your farm, this year, next year, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 50 years from now,” she said.

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    Lappé’s talk on Oct. 21 is titled “Plenty for the Planet: Sustainable Food and a Well-Fed World.” The talk is free; there’s a fee for the reception following the program.

    Lappé will share the first in a series of short animated videos on the food system. She says it tackles the idea that we need industrial, chemical agriculture to feed the world. She’s hoping the bite-sized films will help people become savvy media and food consumers.

    “We all know we are being advertised to,” Lappé said. “You can watch TV and you see food ads all the time but I think that people would be shocked to find out that there’s M&M counting curriculum in preschools being used.”

    Lappé has crisscrossed the country for nearly 10 years talking about food and agriculture. She says the new series answers the questions she hears most often: How do we make “good” food affordable? Aren’t you elitist for advocating for organic food?

    “Once you start paying Americans a fair wage again, people are going to be able to feed themselves again, so I think it’s really important that we don’t just talk about the cost of food in isolation of and outside the conversation about what’s happened to wages for working Americans,” Lappé said.

    The first video will be available online after Lappé’s new website launches in late October.

    The Academy of Natural Sciences has also invited some local food experts to it community discussions. They include Steveanna Wynn from SHARE and Ann Karlen from Fair Food

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