Let's Talk about Food: Ground Rules for Civil Dialogue

Let's Talk about Food: Ground Rules for Civil Dialogue

Emily Han
Jan 6, 2010

2009 was the year that issues like local food, sustainable food systems, and agriculture reform went mainstream, and we expect this national conversation to intensify in 2010. Unfortunately, much of the time it looks less like dialogue and more like, as LA Times food editor Russ Parsons writes, "two armed camps deeply suspicious of one another shouting past each other." How can "hard-line aggies" and "know-nothing urbanites" create meaningful discussion and change?

Parsons suggests some ground rules, or fundamental principles, that all sides should agree on in order to move forward with constructive dialogue. Among them are:

• Agriculture is business

• Food is not just a culinary abstraction

• Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

• Quality is more expensive than quantity

Read about each of these points, and others, in more detail:
Civil dialogues about food can lead to understanding and change

What do you think? Do you have experience, questions, or thoughts about civil conversation and mutual understanding when it comes to food politics?

Related: Organic: The Debate Rages On

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