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Is America on the Brink of a Food Crisis?

If we continue our offenses against the land, we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our economy.

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WJ: These are the same people who believe it's realistic to continue practices they know to be unsustainable. The basic choice is simple: Do we want to work at coming up with a system that can produce healthful food and healthy communities, one that is economically and ecologically viable? Or do we want to continue to contaminate our soil and water as we watch that soil continue to be eroded by that water? That contamination and erosion are both material reality and metaphor for our cultural and economic condition.  

Look, I'm a scientist from the countryside, which means I have spent my life dealing with reality in research and on the farm. These are necessary and possible goals. Without the necessity, it may be considered grandiose. Without the possibility, it could be regarded as grandiose. The test for grandiosity, in my view, fails. As a nation, we are blessed with some of the world's best soils. Increasingly, city people want healthier and safer food. And we're at a political moment when everybody and his dog is talking about the need for change. So, let's get to it.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas, Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. His latest book, All My Bones Shake: Radical Politics in the Prophetic Voice, will be published in 2009 by Soft Skull Press. He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007).