Food

ARE WE WHAT WE EAT?

A new book seeks alternatives to our gluttonous ways

JOHN INTINI December 6 2004
Food

ARE WE WHAT WE EAT?

A new book seeks alternatives to our gluttonous ways

JOHN INTINI December 6 2004

ARE WE WHAT WE EAT?

Food

JOHN INTINI

A new book seeks alternatives to our gluttonous ways

EVAN SOLOMON can’t get over the fact that U.S. fast-food chain Hardee’s is now serving a hamburger with a whopping 1,420 calories, almost triple what’s in a Big Mac. “And they sell it for next to nothing,” marvels Solomon, co-host of CBCNews: Sunday. “People should be asking: how the hell can they sell beef so cheap? Consumers need to realize that there are other, much greater costs to think about than the few dollars’ price.” Solomon’s interest in educating people about the pitfalls of how we grow, distribute and consume food goes well beyond discount beef patties. In fact, he and Andrew Heintzman are releasing Feeding the Future: How the Battle Over Food Is Changing Everything, their second collection of essays for The Ingenuity Project, an informal think tank they started that seeks solutions to social problems. (The first book, Fueling the Future, covered energy and came out last year.) “This is activism but not in the extreme sense,” says Heintzman, president of Investeco Capital Corp., which funds environmental businesses. “The goal of these books is to get people talking and thinking about issues.” This year, 12 experts (along with Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, who wrote a forward) were asked to cover a range of

controversial food-related topics, including the beef industry, famine, agricultural trade barriers, organic farming, genetically modified food and obesity, exploring innovations and presenting alternatives to wasteful practices. “It’s not about condemning,” says Solomon, 36. “As soon as you pretend to be righteous, someone will point out that you use gas, eat burgers or are overweight. Most of us are guilty of all three.”

The two editors, who previously partnered on the now-defunct digital culture magazine Shift, shy away from advocating one theory over another. “We’ll never find the magic bullet that will solve all our problems,” says Heintzman, 37. “But I’m hopeful we can raise people’s consciousness. It’s a great sign that people care more about what’s in their food. Hopefully now it’ll move from looking at the nutritional value on labels to asking where the food came from and how it’s grown.” For Solomon, one of the book’s most fascinating chapters is about the soaring obesity rates. “We have an overfeeding problem here,” he says, “and yet 850 million people are starving in the world. It’s hard to go to bed after stuffing your face when you know 40,000 kids in your own city don’t have the luxury of saying T ate too much tonight.’ ” 171