Last weekend in Portland an inaugural food festival called Feast treated attendees to a host of dinners, chef demonstrations, cooking contests, and speakers. One of our personal favorite cookbook author-journalists, Mark Bittman, was here on Thursday, addressing the future of food in this country.
My biggest takeaway from Bittman’s talk was this: At a time when many of our fellow citizens are clamoring for less government at all levels, Bittman remains an unabashed advocate for more government intervention — to counter the overabundance of non-food items manufactured and marketed in our country. In his words, we need to “disincentivize the consumption of bad foods, and make it easier to eat good foods.”
So, for example, Bittman is a strong advocate for a soda tax. In Richmond, California, there is a measure on the November ballot for just such a tariff. Bittman says he’s watching the Richmond vote closely; he believes it will take just one municipality to pass such a tax, and others will follow. And when they do, he says, the public health implications will be huge.