Friday, August 07, 2015

Seeking your input on Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction

Please send any input as we take early steps toward planning a possible future second edition of Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction (Routledge/Earthscan, 2013).
  • What topics would you like to see enhanced?
  • What new topics would you like to see introduced?
  • What current material should be corrected or clarified?
  • Where have you previously seen this book used in courses, and what were its strengths and weaknesses?
  • What new courses might this book serve with the right improvements?
Already on my "to do" list for possible development:
  • New online instructor materials,
  • Updated information about the 2014 Farm Bill and other recent legislation,
  • New material about food waste and food justice, and
  • Updated statistics for figures and tables, along with current hyperlinks to the data sources.
The new edition may retain the same basic "pitch" as the first edition (but do send advice on possible modifications):
This book offers a broad introduction to food policies in the United States. Real-world controversies and debates motivate the book’s attention to economic principles, policy analysis, nutrition science and contemporary data sources. It assumes that the reader's concern is not just the economic interests of farmers, but also includes nutrition, sustainable agriculture, the environment and food security. The book’s goal is to make US food policy more comprehensible to those inside and outside the agri-food sector whose interests and aspirations have been ignored.

The chapters cover US agriculture, food production and the environment, international agricultural trade, food and beverage manufacturing, food retail and restaurants, food safety, dietary guidance, food labeling, advertising and federal food assistance programs for the poor.
In revision, I would seek to preserve features that have been well-received in the first edition. Here is some of the intelligence we have about that reception after publication:
Your input will be influential. Please feel free to use my Tufts email, the comments field for this post, and/or Twitter @usfoodpolicy . Thanks!


Rani Madhavapeddi said...

I think we need to have a national dialogue on how the food we eat has been radically modified from one that is grown and eaten to that which is processed, and while processing what we have lost. Convenience foods, tasty foods, have replaced the wholesome foods of yester years......the pros and cons and the historical evolution of todays foods.....

Rocco said...

I used Dr. Wilde's book as the text for a course that I taught entitled 'Food Policy and Public Health' and found it to be a wonderful text. It was clear, concise and found the perfect balance between policy and health impacts. As someone who is not trained in economics, it was still easy to follow and utilize in lesson plans.

A few updates that may be useful in enhancing the text:

1. I am not sure if this is currently available, but I would love to have access to the figures in the text so that I could embed them in lecture slides and talk through them. I know that some texts offer this electronically as an accessory with the text and this would be really useful for talking through some of the very useful figures.

2. As a food safety/epidemiology person I think that a few things could be useful in the food safety chapter. A mention of how outbreaks are investigated and some basic epidemiological concepts would be great. These studies, along with risk assessment form quite a lot of the backbone for food safety messaging and intervention development. In addition, it may be useful to mention a few emerging foodborne illness concerns such as marine biotoxins and antibiotic resistance in food pathogens. This may work better as a separate box in the text but I think that it could be very useful.

3. In the food labeling and advertising chapter, it may be useful to talk a bit on food messaging, especially some of the newer terminology such as "organic" and GMO". It may be worthwhile, at this point, to have a chapter on some of these newer areas of food regulation and advertising since they are becoming hot issues for policy and marketing even. I think that food messaging has become extremely impactful in policy development as well as the public's willingness to adopt and react to these policies.

Overall, this is a wonderful book that I will continue to use and I look forward to seeing what is new in the updated edition.

Michael C. Bazaco (UMD-SPH)

Parke Wilde said...

Thanks for these comments, and for other comments sent by email! More soon.

Kate Olender said...

I would like to see a more in-depth discussion of the role of labor and immigration policy in our food system. We are often exposed to bits and pieces of these issues, but I am curious to see how the decisions we make around labor impact the whole supply chain. It is discussed in chapter 4, but I'd like to know more.

Also, I love your book and I keep it on my bookshelf at work - and reference it frequently!