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The politics of food

News Icon 12/04/2014

Glasgow: Standing in a former Episcopal church turned hotel, I’m greeted by two Americans. We shake hands warmly while waiting to share a cab to the ‘Aye Write!’ literary festival. “We’re reading your book,” they said. I was thrilled. Turned out, they were authors in their own right and were speaking at the festival too.

The politics of food was the discussion on the menu today,  chaired by Jacqueline O’Donnell, owner and head chef of Glasgow’s ‘The Sisters’ restaurants. We were in conversation with fellow author and philosopher, Julian Baggini, and food writer, Joanna Blythman.

In a wide-ranging conversation starting with a short film trailer for Farmageddon, we talked about local food, provenance and labelling, and the vested interests behind the deepening industrial food crisis. Thanks to my fellow panellists for a fascinating discussion – an hour vanished in a flash, and to everyone who came out.

The last time I saw Joanna Blythman was when kindly invited to the launch of her excellent book, ‘What to Eat’, which is packed full of tips on how to eat well without waste or ethical dilemma. I highly recommend it.

Also highly recommended is Julian Baggini’s latest book, ‘The Virtues of the Table: How to eat and think’. It serves up a refreshingly new approach to the pressing issues behind the food we eat.  I found it surprisingly free of dogma with the underlying message imploring us to be virtuous rather than rigid in our food choices. It charts Julian’s journey through the moral maize of gastronomy with compelling and mouth-wateringly informative prose.

I’ll be seeing Julian again in Bristol on 16th May, when he chairs my Farmageddon session at the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Plenty more travelling before then though; next stop, South Africa…

To get your copy of Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat, click here


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