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Smart Food with Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA

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Welcome to Smart Food, the Edible Radio podcast hosted by Jane Black. Jane’s guest today is Josh Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA.

For years, good-food advocates have tried to make the case that cheap isn’t everything. Organic eggs, sustainably raised beef and produce from small farms simply cost more to produce than the processed stuff you find on a lot of grocery store shelves. To a certain extent, they’ve been successful. But the message has also got a little twisted. It’s now conventional wisdom that good food costs more – and costs too much for the average, hardworking American. On this episode of Smart Food, Jane talks to Josh Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA, about efforts to combat the good-food-costs-more myth. He offers tips and tricks for inexpensive eating and Slow Food’s new challenge to its members to cook a delicious, sustainable meal for $5 or less per person.

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Welcome to Smart Food, the Edible Radio podcast hosted by Jane Black. Jane’s guest today is Barry Estabrook, journalist and author of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.

“My obituary headline would have read: Food Writer Killed by Flying Tomato.”

This is first line of Barry Estabrook’s new book, Tomatoland. It describes what might have happened as industrial tomatoes flew off the back of a truck as he drove at 60 miles an hour along I-75, a highway in southwest Florida. These tomatoes, picked hard and green, are designed so they cannot be damaged during shipping – though clearly scientists didn’t consider how they could damage others.

On this episode of Smart Food, Barry talks about the sweeping human and environmental dangers caused by the tomato industry, which go a lot further than flying, hard, green fruit. Workers are underpaid and, in extreme cases, enslaved. Pesticides endanger their health and that of nearby residents. Happily, he also points out efforts to improve the industry and bring back the juicy backyard tomatoes of the past.

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Welcome to Smart Food, the Edible Radio podcast hosted by Jane Black. Jane’s guest today is Oran Hesterman, CEO of the Fair Food Network and author of the book, Fair Food.

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If you’re not a food policy geek, you may not have heard of Oran Hesterman. But you’ve surely heard of the people and projects that he’s helped to launch: Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, Curt Ellis’s documentary “King Corn” and the Sustainable Food Lab. As a director at the Kellogg Foundation for 15 years, he doled out about $200 million in seed money for local food systems advocates. Today, he is president and CEO of the Fair Food Network, which does its own advocacy work, including running the Double Up Food Bucks program in Southeast Michigan, which matches the money of food stamps recipients when they spend it at farmers markets. On this episode of Smart Food, Oran talks the Food Bucks program, how rural and urban constituencies can join forces to improve the Farm Bill and why chefs and journalists don’t have the answers about how to fix our food system.

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