I am not sure who you would say is the father of the food movement. Wendell Berry, perhaps, for long being a voice for sustainable agriculture, as well as a poet who eloquently links agriculture to our culture at large. Or perhaps Michael Pollan for introducing so many to the questions of what’s on our table and what kind of food system are we supporting by buying, cooking and eating certain foods. No doubt Omnivore’s Dilemma captured the attention of many young intellectuals as well as the nation when it came out ten years ago.
Mark Bittman should also stand as one of the founding fathers of the modern food movement. From 1997 to 2011 he wrote The Minimalist, a column in the New York Times sharing a wide variety of recipes all made easy for the home cook. In 2003 he published How to Cook Everything, a wide breadth of recipes and techniques empowering home cooks to branch out and make new foods—from homemade pasta to multifruit soup to crispy skin salmon, to name just a few.
After spending so much time writing about the preparation of food, Mark Bittman then shifted gears and wrote a column about food and agriculture in the New York Times opinion pages for four years—one of the only of columns of its kind. During that tenure he helped change the way many of us think about food by candidly writing about issues in the food system both big and small and capturing our attention with his humor, sarcasm and wit. I was already thinking about how to influence public policy regarding our food system, but reading his article Let’s Make Food Issues Real galvanized me into creating this organization.