We are in the middle of a food revolution. Right before our eyes, a new food system is growing from the ground up, and, as consumers, we have a large impact on what form it takes. The future of food is not as dark as you might have imagined.
When consumers voice the need for choices that meet their values, for more accountability from companies, and their desire to feel well, big shifts are made. We begin to see a willingness and courage from producers and companies to create a foodscape that is inclusive, aware, humane, and responsible.
My guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy is Walter Robb, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, who has a long and varied entrepreneurial history ranging from natural food retailer to farmer to consultant. Walter is a mentor and advisor to the next generation of American food companies and he is dedicated to transforming our food system.
In this episode, Walter and I dive into the idea of creating a new food system by looking at how we’ve gotten where we are and what issues still need the most help. The statistics may seem grim—more than 6,000 communities still lack access to fresh, healthy food and 20 million kids in our own country don’t have something to eat every morning, despite the fact that more than 480 billion dollars worth of food is thrown out every year. It’s clear that there is a need for change, but the good news is that as the consciousness around food increases these numbers will change, too.
Walter built his career off of creating a workplace around love and respect and allowing values to take the lead, setting out to provide healthier foods for not just some people, but all people. His roles in opening new Whole Foods Markets in underserved communities and working with the Whole Cities and Whole Kids foundations are examples of how we can begin to deal with the inequities in our food system in an empowering way.
We also talk about how what might be considered medical problems are actually, at their root, social problems, and how that is so strongly linked to our food system. We call chronic diseases non-communicable diseases, but this just isn’t true. They are totally communicable—you’re more likely to be overweight if your friends are overweight. These social connections have a powerful impact on health and wellbeing, and by changing the accessibility of healthy food we can change entire communities.
I know you’ll enjoy this episode as much as I did.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD