Over the last few years, food has emerged as a major issue in the mainstream press and planning circles. Since World War Two, a global system of food production and consumption has emerged that has focused on cheapness (low cost to consumers, high profit margins for corporations) and convenience (easy to store and cook for consumers, easy to grow and transport for corporations). It has increasingly been recognized that other values, especially health, taste and the environment, have been sacrificed in the pursuit of cheapness and convenience a realization not only made by policy advocates but by the public at large, in many ways because of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me and Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma.
This has led to a movement, both within planning and more generally, to promote more environmentally sensitive cultivation practices and healthier and better tasting food, preferably grown locally. This effort to create a more balanced food system is now arguably the cutting edge of the planning profession (especially as more traditional areas like land use planning have lost their urgency because the subprime crisis has led to a slowdown in construction).
Group page: RESEARCH TEAM: Foodshed Mapping (co-mentors: Julie Osborn, Jonathan Reinbold, Elle Igoe; research team supporter: Mary Lydon)