What I’m Reading: The Future of Food

Welcome to What I’m Reading, a special series in which we invite interesting people to handpick articles around a theme of their choice.

In this edition, senior baseball writer Keith Law dives into his passion beyond the ballpark: “The future of food sits at the intersection of several of my main interests outside my day job — food, sustainability, and science.”

Why We Fell for Clean Eating

Bee Wilson • The Guardian

Keith Law: “Clean eating is a fad diet founded on quackery, pseudoscience, and good marketing. So why are people still so desperate to believe in it?”

How Pharma Hides Data About Farm Antibiotic Use

Maryn McKenna • Wired

KL: “The federal government and antibiotic manufacturers have worked hand in hand to protect the latter’s profits over the public good.”

Bread is Broken

Ferris Jabr • The New York Times Magazine

KL: “Industrial production has made wheat less nutritious and less flavorful. This profile of the director of Washington State University’s Bread Lab, argues for one way to fix it.”

Are Mushrooms the New Meat?

Nell Porter Brown • Harvard Magazine

KL: “Two members of the Harvard class of 2013 are growing high-quality mushrooms to serve a market looking for ingredients that can take the place of meat.”

Can America’s Farms Survive the Threat of Deportations?

Michael Frank • The Atlantic

KL: “That cheap produce you see at your local megamart wouldn’t be so inexpensive if pickers had higher pay and better working conditions — and it wouldn’t be so available without immigrant labor, much of it undocumented.”

How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

Dana Goodyear • The New Yorker

KL: “Driscoll’s made strawberries a ubiquitous, year-round product by breeding them for looks, size, and durability — not flavor.”

The Future of Food

Multiple authors • The Nation

KL: “This series of essays looks at different aspects of the future of our global food supply, including climate change, a growing income gap, and failing regulatory standards.”

Save Our Food. Free the Seed.

Dan Barber • The New York Times

KL: “Four companies control 60% of the world’s seed sales — a disaster for both our palates and the biodiversity that our planet and diet need.”

Bananapocalypse: The Race to Save the World’s Most Popular Fruit

Paul Tullis • The Washington Post

KL: “A fungus is attacking banana plantations, and scientists are racing to engineer a replacement, which may mean all the bananas in tomorrow’s supermarket will be genetically modified.”

Trish Rothgeb Coined ‘Third Wave’ — And is Now Looking Toward Coffee’s Future

Michael Paul Light • Los Angeles Times

KL: “Examining the future of the high-quality, small-batch coffee movement and how a ‘fourth wave’ should include more people in the drive for better coffee.”

About the curator

Keith Law has been a senior baseball writer since 2006, formerly at ESPN and now at The Athletic. His book, “The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves,” comes out in April. Find him @keithlaw or on his blog, The dish.

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