Locus Focus on 01/02/12
WEIGHING IN: Obesity, Food Justice & The Limits of Capitalism - An Interview with Julie Guthman
There is little doubt that Americans are getting fatter. As an example, a new Coast Guard regulation requires that the Washington State Ferries reduce their maximum capacity by 250 passengers because the average body weight of individual passengers has increased by 25 pounds. Common wisdom attributes the rise in obesity to the high caloric/low nutrient levels of the junk food that many people eat and to the auto-centric, pedestrian-hostile physical environments in which they live. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Julie Guthman, author of a new book called Weighing in: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, which challenges many assumptions at the core of the food movement. Rather than blaming the eater for eating too much of the wrong food, Guthman looks for other causes of obesity—like environmental toxins in our food. She critiques the alternative food movement as a phenomenon that is primarily white, elitist, privileged and prejudiced against fat people, and calls for solutions that take on our entire economic system, not just lifestyle choices.
Julie Guthman is Associate Professor in the Community Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (UC Press)