"You Are What You Grow" article in the NY Times
I found this article about the wide-reaching economic, social and even international impacts of the farm bill to be completely enlightening and disturbing. It explains why high-fructose corn syrup is ubiquitous and why junk food is so much cheaper then healthy food.
While the info in this article may have already been out there for those who were reading that stuff, I have not seen as clear and succinct and readable an explanation of what is wrong with modern American food.
I've been using it with a variety of groups to illustrate the institutional nature of modern social problems-- the complexity and interconnectedness, the conflicting goals, the institutional power players, etc-- and I can say that none of the highly educated, tuned in people that I brought it up to thought it was old news. (None of this was in a food-related context; I grant that lots of chowhounds may well have heard all this for years!)
There's still a huge amount of work to be done to raise awareness about how screwed up our food chain is, and why it is important, before people will start contacting their legislators in numbers that will matter, I think.
Most people still think it is just a personal decision about whether to eat regular food or organic. And why wouldn't they, personal decisions are what America is all about, aren't they? Or when you look at the nature of industrial food, maybe not... it goes way beyond personal choices.
Which is precisely the point I think Pollan makes in this article better than anything else I have seen (ie, hard-hitting, readable, short, accessible, etc.).
I read a couple of pages about corn in the Omnivore's Dilemma before giving it to a friend as a gift - absolutely fascinating - plan to pick up a copy for myself. We eat v. little processed food, but plan to start looking more carefully at what we do buy.