Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction (Paperback) book cover

Food Policy in the United States

An Introduction

By Parke Wilde

© 2013 – Routledge

256 pages | 75 B/W Illus.

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This book offers a broad introduction to food policies in the United States. Real-world controversies and debates motivate the book’s attention to economic principles, policy analysis, nutrition science and contemporary data sources. It assumes that the reader's concern is not just the economic interests of farmers, but also includes nutrition, sustainable agriculture, the environment and food security. The book’s goal is to make US food policy more comprehensible to those inside and outside the agri-food sector whose interests and aspirations have been ignored.

The chapters cover US agriculture, food production and the environment, international agricultural trade, food and beverage manufacturing, food retail and restaurants, food safety, dietary guidance, food labeling, advertising and federal food assistance programs for the poor.

The author is an agricultural economist with many years of experience in the non-profit advocacy sector, the US Department of Agriculture and as a professor at Tufts University. The author's well-known blog on US food policy provides a forum for discussion and debate of the issues set out in the book.


"Food Policy in the United States is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how our food system really works or to take action to change it. Professor Wilde provides a tough but balanced and decidedly nonpartisan overview of the facts behind the full range of policy areas – among them agricultural support, safety, dietary guidance – that affect food production and consumption. If you want to join the food movement to improve the system, here’s how to find out where to start."Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Food Politics

"More than ever before, those of us who care about U.S. nutrition policy recognize that we need to pay attention to a whole wide world of policy and economic issues – including farm policy, food manufacturing, supermarkets, anti-hunger programs and more. For my students--and my colleagues--it can seem daunting! Without oversimplifying, Food Policy in the United States opens the doorway to these broader conversations and debates."Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Nutrition scientist, professor, and best-selling author of the Strong Women book series

"This is a very engaging book on the key issues of the food systems and policies today. The topics and material make an excellent foundation for classroom discussion and learning. Parke Wilde asks provocative questions throughout that help to engage the reader and reinforce the importance of trying to understand the economic factors and policy process. I look forward to having this book available for students!" – Helen H. Jensen, professor of economics and head of the Food and Nutrition Policy Division at the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University

"Substance beyond many populist food politics-type books which have surged over the past decade distinguishes Dr. Wilde's contribution. His knowledgeable approach to underlying market (and government) failure which motivates the food policy topic of concern comes from his own background and experience in academia, government and working with NGOs. Occasional notes on advocacy come as a refreshing "so what" for the reader." – Neal Hooker, Professor of Food Policy in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University

Table of Contents

1. Making Food Policy in the United States

2. Agriculture

3. Food Production and the Environment

4. Food and Agricultural Trade

5. Food Manufacturing

6. Food Retailing and Restaurants

7. Food Safety

8. Dietary Guidance and Health

9. Food Labelling and Advertising

10. Hunger and Food Insecurity

11. Nutrition Assistance Programs for Children

12. Postscript - Looking Forward

About the Author

Parke Wilde is Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, USA. He has a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. He is past chair of the Food Safety and Nutrition Section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and current member of the Food Forum of the Institute of Medicine. Previously, he worked for the Community Nutrition Institute and for USDA's Economic Research Service. Since 2004 he has run a highly-respected blog, 'US Food Policy: a Public Interest Perspective'.

About the Series

Earthscan Food and Agriculture

Earthscan Food and Agriculture
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to food and agriculture, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Tim Hardwick, Senior Commissioning Editor (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy