<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
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Do Americans have enough on their plate?

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Obsessing over food — what we eat, why we eat, how much we eat and how we can eat better — has become a pastime as American as Dodger Dogs.

And for good reason; the health of our citizens is closely tied to the quality of our food. But in poor and under-served communities, is healthy food even an option?

When Tracie McMillan wanted to find out how the working poor in America eat, she went straight to the source, from industrial farms to restaurant kitchens, from the supermarket to the dinner table.

Working in the food industry and living on the meager income, she made and shared meals and kitchens with her co-workers. McMillan learned that for many Americans, just putting food on the table is enough of a struggle. Worrying about where it comes from or how it’s processed is secondary.

Statistics bear this out: twenty percent of American shoppers buy most of their produce at Walmart. Families earning under $15,000 a year spend a third of their income on food; for those earning over $70,000, it’s less than ten percent.


Eating well, it seems, is a luxury many of our citizens can’t afford. Is there a way to give everyone a seat at the table? What can be done to improve our national diet?


Tracie McMillan, author, “The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table” (Scribner)