California Institute for Rural Studies

Episode 10: Política del Mole/The Politics of Mole

For centuries, people have been telling other people what to eat. The paleo diet fad might be new, but the idea that some people know what food is best, or healthiest, or cleanest and that other people need to be educated about that is definitely NOT new. It might be one of the oldest ideas we’ve explored on this show.  

And it has surprisingly little to do with knowledge about  food itself and a whole lot more to do with ideas about whose culture is “good.” Or about “living right.”  Or defending a social order. Dig just a little bit into the history of ideas about diet and you’ll quickly find a lot of ideas about race and about class and about power.

But one group of cultural organizers in CA’s Central Valley, at the Pan Valley Institute, has radically shifted this conversation– and by doing that they point the way towards a new model for food movement work that builds political and community strength from difference and diversity.

This story was produced by the California Institute for Rural Studies, Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, director of the Cal Ag Roots Project, and Li Schmidt. Special thanks to everyone who’s voices you heard here: Myrna Martinez, Erica Kohl-Arenas, Melanie DuPuis, Mario Sifuentez, Gail Feenstra, Charlotte Biltekoff and Brenda Ordaz. The music for our podcast was by Dayanna Sevilla and by the Nangdo.

Thanks also to our funders — the 11th Hour Project and the Food and Farming Communications Fund.

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