How foodies can save the planet

Why food reform is more current than environmentalism

By
February 21, 2011

Last week’s issue of Time magazine featured an article titled "Why the Food Movement Is Becoming an Environmental Force." Author Bryan Walsh offered tidy summaries of both the venerable environmental movement and the more recent food-reform movement, and noted points in the foodies’ favor — chiefly personal relevance and the pleasure principle:

What’s amazing is how quickly the food movement has become a measurable force in American society. Environmentalism can trace its origins to the Sierra Club founder John Muir pushing for the establishment of America’s first national parks in 1899, but until recently, food wasn’t really on the radar for progressives, beyond the mission of coping with world hunger. It wasn’t until the food-safety scandals of the 1980s and ‘90s — followed by the publication of exposés like Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and the growing threat of obesity — that Americans really started paying attention to what they were eating. Some of them weren’t very happy with it — and they wanted a change.
. . . 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.

You probably can’t find a more succinct wrap-up of the progress and issues facing both reform movements. Check it out.

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