The Disappearance of “Poor”

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What does food have to do with politics? Baker Mark Furstenberg (Bread Furst, The Breadline) and writer and food critic Corby Kummer (The Atlantic, Aspen Institute Ideas Magazine) join fellow social justice champion host Billy Shore (Share Our Strength) to discuss food, politics and community in this episode of Add Passion and Stir. When Shore asks about the political climate and issues like immigration reform, Kummer expresses concern. “This is something that every restaurant owner and food supplier and somebody who cares about food has to take on for themselves. Personal responsibility is a lot more important than we want it to be, but – in the absence of government leadership – it has to be,” he says. Furstenburg is also worried. “It’s impossible to not be affected by the political climate,” he says. “The word ‘poor’ has disappeared from our political vocabulary… [but] food is the most basic concern of poor people.”

Furstenburg – who started baking after the age of 50 and went on to win the 2017 James Beard Award as the nation’s Outstanding Baker– uses his bakeries to build community. His Bread Furst is in “the neighborhood in which my sister had built a monumentally important community feeling [around the iconic Politics and Prose bookstore]. My sister had done that so well with books, I really wanted to do it with bread,” he says. It is this community aspect that caused 5-time James Beard Award-winner Kummer to fall in love with food. “It’s the people [like Furstenburg] who build community at their own table. When I go to a new city, I look for the place that values community,” he shares.

Hear these dynamic food lovers’ opinions on politics, community and Yelp reviews.

Resources and Mentions:

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Bread Furst

Bread Furst is a DC neighborhood bakery in the upper northwest neighborhood of Van Ness/Forest Hills. It makes and sells traditional breads and pastries, original and specialty foods. The breadline is mostly European, baguettes, ciabatta, and a range of whole grain breads. Although certainly we are primarily a bakery, Bread Furst is above all a neighborhood store, rooted here, with what we hope is an intimate connection with Washington.

Root Cause Coalition

The Root Cause Coalition is a national, member-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of health disparities by focusing on hunger and other social determinants leading to nationwide epidemic of preventable chronic health conditions.

Aspen Institute Ideas Magazine

IDEAS: the Magazine of the Aspen Institute is the tri-annual flagship publication of the Aspen Institute, with a mandate to promote not just the ever-increasing initiatives and programs of the Institute but the ideas driving them.

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