The Astoundingly Complex Logistics of How Food Gets Made

The Cracked Podcast #201 September 4, 2017

If car commercials, beer commercials and presidential stump speeches were the only entertainment you consumed, you’d probably be pretty bored. You’d also think that American farmers are the life-blood of the economy and account for roughly 85% of the population. But in fact, less than 2% of Americans work in the business of putting food on your table– we’re talking farmers, ranchers, fishermen, etc.– and over 80% of us live in metropolitan areas of some sort. That’s a crazy ratio, especially when it comes to something as important as where the next meal is coming from.

How did we get here? How has the food industry in America gone from family farms and self reliance to drive throughs and endlessly stocked supermarkets in just a couple hundred years? This week, Alex Schmidt and Carmen Angelica speak to Maureen Ogle, a historian who wrote a whole book on the nuts and bolts of the American food industry and specifically, our obsession with meat.

Neither her book nor this podcast are condemnations of eating meat or exposés into the horrors of meat production, we’re just taking a look at the amazing confluence of business, agriculture, science and logistics that keeps the grocery shelves stocked and the McRib in rotation.

Footnotes, links and sources: https://goo.gl/44o22v

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