I’m glad I was brought into this conversation. As someone that lives on five acres of egg-producing birds, a fruit tree orchard and seasonal vegetable production, we’re probably more alike than different. My wife brings this stuff to farmers markets in rural Florida, in one place where 75% of people are on public assistance. At times, this is the best access they get to farm-fresh produce at its peak of goodness and nutrient density.

I also work in how to develop lighting strategies for urban farms, and just this week helped an operation consider novel ways to decrease their high energy costs, while still delivering high-quality greens to the NY-metro area.

The point of my article was not to pull people from “clean” food to processed food. That’s not the point. It is that the “unclean” alternatives are not the poison they are made out to be by food-bullies and well-off urbanites that can sneer down their noses at others’ choices.

Artificial colors or preservatives are not a problem in themselves. They encourage consumption, they limit waste, they increase safety. Should we encourage people to eat fresh food? Absolutely. But the delineation between “clean” and “unclean” is a bogus oversimplification that does not teach this concept.

My goal is to get more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, quality proteins, etc into more people and guide them on better food choices. My article was about the profound availability of food, it is not scarce, and people should be eating the right kind of calories. How you interpreted this as a nod to “praising cheap processed food” or declaring “clean food as snake oil” is beyond me.

In today’s markets there is not clean and dirty food. There is food, and it all is safe and working harder to make it safer and more sustainable. I’m not attacking clean food, I’m attacking the elitist separation of “clean food” from “that slop you people get” (I’m included in “you people”) that has been shown to move people away from fresh fruits and vegetables.

And I will always care about what poor people eat, particularly their access to fresh fruits and vegetables. If that takes yelling, then so be it. Thanks.

Written by

Land-grant scientist exploring ways to make better food with less input, and how to communicate science. All funding at kevinfolta.com/transparency

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