SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— When we sit down to our next meal, what percentage of the food on our plate do you think is influenced by politics?

“I’d say it’s a quick 100 percent” said Dr. Marion Nestle, a nationally known expert and author who has written several books on the intersection of food, politics, and public policy. “I can’t think of a thing that isn’t about food that’s not influenced by politics.

Her latest book is, Eat, Drink, Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politcs. She has close ties to the Bay Area after having gotten her PhD in molecular biology and her MPH in public health nutrition from Cal.

One of her main points is that she’d like to see farm policy in the U.S. change. “Certainly in the Bay Area there are uncountable numbers of organizations that are doing phenomenal work to try to improve the quality of food for everybody, rich and poor alike,” Nestle said.

“The reason that fruits and vegetables appear to be so expensive to the poor is because they are. Federal policy supports the industrial food system and doesn’t support fruits and vegetables,” she said.

She does see progress though. “I think a lot of stuff is working. If you go to a supermarket now, you can get better food than what were available 25-30 years ago. There’s more farmer’s markets, there’s more local-grown foods, more urban farming and more CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), there’s better food in schools. It’s really gotten better.”

Nestle said food is the one area where you can get politically active and make real change.

You can follow her on her blog: or on Twitter at @marionnestle

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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