Dear Food Movement: A Memo

» June 19th, 2015


From the look of things, you’d be correct in thinking that a revolution in food production was underway. Calls for local, sustainable, slow, humane, organic, non-genetically modified, fair-wage, “real” food are not only ubiquitous, they’ve inspired a farm-to-table movement that seeks to end industrialized agriculture, empower small farmers, and replace Walmart with farmers markets. Hundreds if not thousands of books, articles, foundations, academic conferences, and documentaries have joined the cause, rallying around the idea that industrial agriculture should—and can—and will be stopped.

These efforts have spawned a unique public discourse, one ubiquitously re-iterating the message that industrial agriculture wreaks ecological havoc, endangers human health, and exploits workers in order to produce food that’s overly processed, overly cheap, and overly globalized. Given the intensity of this culinary zeitgeist (not to mention the fact it gets very little critical inquiry from an adoring media), there’s every reason to think that food-reform-minded Americans, voting with their forks, are finally changing how Americans eat.

It is always difficult to get beyond the rhetoric and quantify such trends, but one metric seems safe to assume: If the movement were working, factory farms would be in decline. But, as a report just released by Food and Water Watch reveals, the exact opposite is happening. While muckrakers have been exposing every hint of corruption in corporate agriculture, and while reformers have been busy creating programs to combat industrial agriculture with localized, “real food” alternatives, factory farms have been proliferating like superweeds in a field of Monsanto corn.

Read more.

4 Responses to Dear Food Movement: A Memo

  1. Lisa LeBlanc says:

    I think part of the success of factory agriculture is it’s ability to remove the consumer’s choices.
    An extremely powerful corporate presence (and the lobbying power it purchases) makes it difficult for the interested public to make informed choices. The power behind keeping food from being labeled as to it’s country of origin or what sorts of scientific experimentation is behind your Roma tomatoes is at once frightening and bewildering:
    Whaddya mean I don’t need to know what’s in my food?! I’m payin’ for it, I’m feeding it to my kids! I have every RIGHT to know!
    This is why farmer’s markets tickle hell outta me. And I think this will eventually be the downfall of Big Ag – small and local.
    It’s sort of like what volunteering used to be – take the power into your own hands, help that guy having some difficulties, and do it before the State or the Fed realizes what you’re doing because they’ll step in and screw up the whole thing.
    If we could all just…refuse a little. A pack of seeds can still be had for less than a buck. If you’re not up to selling it at a farmer’s market, trade with the neighbor who can grow that thing that you can’t. There is a guy in my neighborhood who has a variety of citrus trees, and every so often, I’ll come home and find about 10 pounds of grapefruit, oranges or lemons on my front porch – along with every house for blocks.
    I just hope Big Ag doesn’t find him and sue him for free sourcing his own food products, because that would be SO bad for Business.

    • Dylan says:

      I don’t understand the complaint about labeling. If you don’t want to buy food that doesn’t have the information you want on it… then don’t buy food with the information you don’t want on it.

      • Lisa LeBlanc says:

        Then by that logic, quit spending millions of dollars and purchasing the necessary law maker-slash-legislator to ensure there’s no label to read…

  2. Elaine Livesey-Fassel says:

    As always and ever – COMMON ( and humane) SENSE 101!! Thank you!

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