Fixing the Food System

Changing How We Produce and Consume Food

by Steve Clapp
Foreword by Marion Nestle


Unhealthful diets are expected to cause today's children to live shorter lives than their parents.

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Cover image for Fixing the Food System

November 2016


Pages 206
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Health & Wellness/Fitness, Nutrition, and Healthy Living
  Current Events and Issues/Health and Medicine

America's broken food system has provoked an outcry from consumer advocates seeking to align food policies with public health objectives. This book examines both sides of the conflict for solutions.

Many believe that America's food system is in dire need of reform, with concerns ranging from the obesity epidemic to exploitative labor practices and negative environmental impact. This eye-opening book answers provocative questions about what changes are needed, who is advocating the changes, what parties are opposing these changes (and why), and what a new food system would look like. Organized into three sections, the work identifies the problems with the current system, reviews the changing landscape of food policy, and suggests workable solutions for progress.

Washington insider Steve Clapp takes a comprehensive look at the struggle over the future of food. He examines the vision for a reformed national food policy that includes calculating the true cost of food, providing universal access to healthful food, adopting farm policies supporting public health and environmental objectives, improving food safety, paying fair wages to food employees, treating food animals with compassion, and reducing the food system's carbon footprint. The book explores the ways in which these issues can be resolved, drawing upon lessons learned from the early food advocates of the 1960s and 1970s.


  • Traces the development of a national food policy proposed by food movement leaders
  • Reveals the true cost of food and its toll on consumers and taxpayers
  • Discusses the opposition against a national food policy from the agricultural-industrial complex
  • Shows the effects of changing the current food system
  • Analyzes efforts to fix the food system and the efforts to oppose them
  • Introduces early food advocates who changed the food policy landscape
Author Info

Steve Clapp has covered food policy in Washington, DC, for more than 40 years. Formerly, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Nigeria and worked as a field program evaluator ("inspector") for the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity. His published works include Africa Remembered: Adventures in Post-Colonial Nigeria and Beyond as well as many articles for The Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine. Clapp earned a magna cum laude degree in English from Harvard College and a magna cum laude master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.



“A must-read for all concerned with developing a national food policy to improve health, increase food security, and assure sustainability of the food supply."—Dr. Robert S. Lawrence, MD, MACP, Founding Director, Center for a Livable Future, and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“There is no better person to tell the long and not always encouraging story of how inextricably food and politics have been intertwined for decades.” —Marian Burros, retired food columnist, New York Times

“Steve Clapp has not only put together a how-to guide for eaters, farmers, and policymakers for fixing the broken food system, he’s also given us a history of the modern food movement. He’s documented the challenges, the obstacles and, most importantly, the solutions."—Danielle Nierenberg, founder and president of Food Tank

“An up-to-the-minute tutorial and guide to the leading edge of thinking around one of the more pressing policy imperatives of our times. Clapp’s journalistic instincts, expert knowledge, and insider access have produced a thoroughly documented, comprehensive, and balanced assessment of the issues, key protagonists, and contested ideas for fixing our food system.”—Ricardo J. Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

“Steve Clapp and I were colleagues in the War on Poverty in the 1960s. Moving from poverty into hunger and malnutrition, he looks at today’s food policy crisis with more than four decades of experience.”—Al From, founder, Democratic Leadership Council, and author, The New Democrats and the Return to Power

“Want all Americans to get enough safe, nutritious food, with school lunches promoting children’s health over junk food profits? If so, buy this book and launch your campaign.”—Carol L. Tucker-Foreman, founder, Safe Food Coalition, and Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1977–1981

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