Freakonomics Radio: You Eat What You Are

Dates and times for this program: Wednesdays: 8pm on 93.9FM; Saturdays: 6am on 93.9FM and NJPR, 2pm on AM820 and 4pm on 93.9FM; Sundays: 8pm on AM820 and NJPR

Americans are in the midst of a food paradox: we have access to more and better and cheaper food than ever before but at the same time, we are surrounded by junk food and a rise in obesity and heart disease.  In this hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner talks about our massive, but balky food network with economist Tyler Cowen, who argues that agribusiness and commercialization are not nearly the villains that your foodie friends might have you think. We also hear from food philosopher Michael Pollan, who weighs in on a number of our problems, and chef Alice Waters, who talks about a renewed appreciation for the American farmer.  

In the second half of this program, we explore whether eating local can solve most of our food problems. We check in on Santa Barbara County, Calif., one of the top agriculture-producing counties in the U.S., which imports nearly all of the produce it eats, and we run the numbers on how many carbon emissions are actually created by shipping food around the country (or the world).  Finally, we ask whether there is a moral upside to eating food grown far away, and we offer some unconventional advice for people trying to do less damage to the earth every time they eat.