Tom Philpott(Bart Nagel Photography)Grist Food Editor and indefatigable reporter Tom Philpott recently spent some quality time on the other side of the tape recorder, for an in-depth Columbia Journalism Review interview about class and the U.S. food system.

In the piece, titled “Food Fighter,” Philpott fields the de rigeur “is organic too expensive” question with aplomb and hits a few home runs about the structural economic underpinnings of cheap food, such as commodity and de-facto pollution subsidies, and the promise of intensive urban agriculture. He also reveals the inspiration for his getting actively interested in the food movement — Rudy Giuliani, of all people.

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Asked if he ever feels like he’s “tilting at windmills” when it comes to making healthy food more accessible, Philpott answers “Absolutely.” But the people and projects he writes about for Grist, like Will Allen’s Growing Power in Milwaukee, are what keep him — and by extension, us — hopeful that someday we’ll have a food system in which quality real food will be affordable for the masses.

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