Daring talk by agriculture expert Louise Fresco, who has the guts to break the organic trance of the fashionably-natural-farmers-market people at TED.

During her talk she is holding up two loaves, one in each hand: Wonder Bread, and artisian whole meal bread. Fresco says that we feel whole meal bread is more real, more honest, more authentic.

"Why do we feel that whole meal bread has these attributes? Because we connect it to a mythical agricultural past, of Tuscan farms. We have mythical image of how life was in rural areas in the past. The reality is quite different. These poor farmers had hard lives."

"200 years ago we had industrial revolution. It brought us power, mechanization, fertilizer, drove up yields. Horrible things like picking beans by hand is automated. All this is a great improvement. We've enveloped world in dense chain of supermarkets with global trade, we can eat food from around the world. "

"You may prefer the artisanal bread, but don't despise the white bread. Bread and food have become plentiful and affordable to all. It has changed the world."

"As food became plentiful it also meant we were able to decrease the number of people working in agriculture. Only 1% of people are farmers. It frees us up to do other things and not worry about food. Never before have so few people been responsible for feeding the rest of the world. And we are oblivious."

Via BoingBoing. Related post: Organic Coke.

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  • Isn’t the problem with world hunger more to do with ‘unequal distribution’ as opposed to ‘not having enough food to feed the world’? North Americans throw out so much food every year! My brother works at a supermarket and he told me that they throw out huge amounts of food (due to expiry). Also they purposefully order way too much food product items just to ‘look good’ to the consumer, many of which ended up being throw out!

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  • you want organic? eat the plants before they are processed by machines into bread

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  • Oh PLEASE! What GMO pushing super-corp paid her off? Our "Wonder Bread" food system uses our children to dispose of our agricultural food waste by teaching us via TV and propaganda in order to teach them that "Wonder Bread" is actually food. TEACH YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN TO GARDEN! We're better off to stop eating bread altogether....

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  • Boy, would I love to moderate a debate between Louise Fresco and Debra Solomon on whether we can feed the world organically. Still much to learn here.

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  • Bean Picker vs. Bean Counter: Louise Fresco really gets up my nose! It makes me furious that someone with such a large voice, such a large audience, spouts such utter BS. Her entire viewpoint is based upon the current industrial agriculture status quo; keeping the current big players in place. Her arguments are based upon the notion that consumers and communities are incapable of changing their own patterns of consumption. Louise Fresco supports industrial agriculture (obviously), and although she has a lifetime's worth of experience as a bureaucrat, she clearly has no experience with the world of SHORT supply chains for food or agriculture. Reprehensible that she represents herself as a food systems expert when she is in fact an expert on an extremely narrow vision of agricultural and global economy monoculture. Additionally, her use of the word poverty is ethnocentric as evidenced in her under nuanced portrayal of the poor rural farmer. I agree there is room for change, but placing the power for change and the tools for change in the hands of the same people that are responsible for creating the cuurent situation is irresponsible. Poo on you, Louise Fresco for misrepresenting this subject to this audience!

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  • Well, that question should be answered, and fast. Here is what wikipedia says: "White bread is bread made from wheat flour from which the bran and often the germ have been removed, in contrast to whole wheat bread made from whole wheat flour, in which these parts are retained and contribute a brownish color." Tell me how you couldn't feed the world with whole wheat bread if white bread would do the trick. This is not a question of luxury, but of created scarcity.

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  • AJ & Osvaldo, Your comments are correct from the perspective of a economically developed region. I also like artisian bread a lot better than wonderbread. However the question is whether it would be possible to feed the world with artisian bread. This also poses a question on whether the artisian bread it more compliant to 'nature' or a luxury product for rich people.

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  • Id like to the previous posters reply (cause he hit the nail on the proverbial head): Sure the industrial revolution brought all these great advances...but at what expense? The ruining of nutrient rich soil by over farming, detrimental crops (corn anyone?), run off from industrial cow/chicken farms, and the list goes on. Then throw on to that genetically altered fruits and veggies created by the likes of Monsanto and such (whose effects upon us and nature we are yet to find out). These are good things? What ever!

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  • AJ

    But hasn't having our population freed up to do things other than agriculture proven to be a bad thing? I mean, last century's bean picker is not necessarily this century's Nobel laureate. And while white bread is plentiful, let's not confuse quantity with quality. Wonderbread may be a good solution in an underdeveloped country where people are starving to death. In the Land of Choice (a/k/a USoA), the qualitative difference between the white bread and whole grain virtually punches you in the face as you move between the 'good' areas of town and the 'bad' areas. Ask a fat person which kind of bread they eat. But you already know, don't you?

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