Articles / Food with Mark Bittman: Tom Philpott


Food with Mark Bittman: Tom Philpott

Published March 20, 2024

How to unleash innovation in farm country

Photo: Gabriel C. Pérez

Did you know that for every dollar the USDA flashes in front of farmers to encourage them to grow to the max, it dangles just 13 cents to help them conserve the land? I didn’t (but I’m not surprised). A recent article in Mother Jones called “Farmers Could Be the Nation’s Leading Environmentalists” explores what would happen if the approach was reversed, and conservation was a prerequisite for farmers to receive subsidies. Tom Philpott, today’s guest on Food, wrote this article.

A professional journalist for more than twenty years, Tom is now a senior research associate at the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University. Mark has known and followed Tom for years, and when we saw this current piece, we’d wondered why it took us so long to have Tom on.

Also! We got a couple reader questions geared towards food styling, so we thought it’d be fun to source more of those and get our friend (and extremely talented food stylist; he worked on Mark’s upcoming book, more on that soon) Barrett Washburne on to answer those. I ended up asking Barrett a ton of questions, so we answered a couple today and we’ll answer a couple on each episode moving forward, til we’re done. Today’s topics are how Barrett got into food styling and how he feels about it, why pots and pans always look so clean on TV, and how to get YOUR pots and pans really clean.

A sampling of Barrett’s food styling. Photos: Instagram/@bwashbu

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