Sustainable Agriculture

How can you encourage people to make healthy food choices?
Answered by Dr. Mehmood Khan and Alice Waters
  • Dr. Mehmood Khan

    Dr. Mehmood Khan

  • Alice Waters

    Alice Waters

  1. Dr. Mehmood Khan Chief Executive Officer, Global Nutrition Group and Chief Scientific Officer, PepsiCo


    One of the most complex questions is exactly the one you're touching on, which is, "How do you affect human behavior?" At the end of the day, choices are about human behavior, right?

    As you think about the choices we make, there are multiple layers: our cultural norms, our environmental norms, our freedom of choices, what the options are. I don't profess to know the answers. I'm not a behaviorist. But there are some things that we can start with. One of those is informing people of what they're consuming, what nutrients they need, and creating a balance.

    I think the most recent publication from the U.S. government on moving from a food pyramid to a plate is a tremendous step forward, and it's a step forward, in my mind, as a clinician, first and foremost because it's simple and it's understandable. I can look at that plate and say "OK, I need this much on my plate has got to be grains and fruits and vegetables. This much has got to be meat-derived, this much is dairy. And how can I balance that?"

    So that's the instructional part. But then there's another side to this. How do I make it available? One of the things that's striking is when you look at studies like those that were done in the city of Chicago, you start to learn that we have a problem. We have food deserts. We have food deserts in our cities, in communities that might not have transportation, might not have safe transportation, might not be able to drive. These mothers are living relatively long distances from the nearest supermarket. How do we address that? So how does that mother make a choice? How do you affect behavior there?

    That's going to be very different to a middle-class or affluent family living in a suburb who can get in their car and go to the supermarket. I think the issue around affecting behavior is very complex, but it isn't just an individual responsibility. That's part of the equation. There's a whole issue around situational pressures and situational influences, and that we have to take into consideration.

    More answers from Dr. Mehmood Khan »

  2. Alice Waters Owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project


    Well, I just am optimistic because I really believe that this food that we're talking about comes with a whole lot of other -- the food that we're serving comes with care. That's what it comes with. And it comes with beauty, and it comes with friendship and community. So we're not just about the food in some isolated circumstance. It's a whole big package of feelings that kids are longing for.

    They come to the kitchen classroom after school to do their homework, and I think they just come in there because it smells good and it feels good in the room. It's sort of beautiful to sit there and do your homework, and they are always sort of running out to the garden when they have a day there. It doesn't feel like school to them. And then, as I said, they feel empowered by that experience.

    The candy bar doesn't have any of that. It just has the sort of addiction, and you want more and you want more. But it doesn't have a satisfaction of having made something yourself or offered that food to somebody else. I think that's what we're missing. We're missing the family table. We're missing our friends. We're missing beauty.

    More answers from Alice Waters »

Still Curious?
  • Why do organic farmer oppose to genetically modified crops?

    Answered by Planet Green

  • What exactly is agritourism?

    Answered by Planet Green

  • How do you become a sommelier?

    Answered by Larry Stone


What are you curious about?

Image Gallery