Can the slow food movement save environmentalists?

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Thanks to stlbites for the photo.
  • Thanks to stlbites for the photo.

Maybe. The two movements go hand in hand. Check out this article snip from Time magazine:

Why has the food movement sprouted so rapidly, even as traditional environmentalism has stalled? Simple: it's about pleasure. Before the political games, before worries about dead zones and manure lagoons, before concerns about obesity and trans fat, the food movement arose around a simple principle: food should taste better. Like their environmental brethren, foodies could be accused of trying to force people to eat their vegetables — but these vegetables are more than metaphorical: they are from a local organic farm and they're sautéed to perfection. The food movement has also directly jacked into that other great American obsession — health — in a way that distant concerns about climate change have largely failed to do. And there's the simple fact that food is present in our lives in a way that endangered species or deforestation or Arctic melting simply aren't. We buy food, we cook food (though less and less frequently) and three times a day, we eat food — occasionally while watching cooking shows.

The challenge for the food movement will come as it matures and begins to take on established political interests. Even with all the growth and all the glossy magazine covers, sustainable food still makes up only a tiny portion of the overall American food system. Perhaps 1% of total U.S. cropland is farmed organically, and organic food and beverages still command less than 4% of the national market, even after years of growth. Slow Food USA — one of the most dynamic of the new food-movement groups — has perhaps 20,000 members nationwide, while the Sierra Club has more than 1.3 million. As foodies go from promoting the perfect heirloom tomato to tackling the country's entrenched agricultural practices, they'll need a new level of commitment, organization and energy. That challenge will only be tougher if the food movement is somehow seen as competing with environmentalism.

But here's the good news — the two sides aren't really competing. As the food movement matures and grows, it could end up being the best vehicle available for achieving environmental goals.

Read the entire article, by Bryan Walsh, here.

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