The Push-Pull of the Food Movement

A quiet revolution is bringing wholesome, farm-grown food to the American plate


| December 4, 2003


Shop at a typical American supermarket and you're likely to come away with a cart of fatty, genetically modified products produced by one of ten mega-corporations. In fact, at least a dollar out of every ten you spend will likely go to only one of these corporate giants: Altria, the renamed Phillip Morris. Consider these corporations' political clout, and the problem of the ever-expanding American waistline and you might begin to despair for the state of U.S. food today. However, according to Anna Lapp? there is a quietly growing counter-revolution that is increasingly making farmers' markets, organic produce, and healthy eating a mainstream option.

'In dozens of U.S. cities people are re-building local food networks, from Slow Fooders preserving artisanal cheeses to hip-hop activists mixing up environmental justice and food democracy,' says Lapp?, co-author of Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet and co-founder of the Small Planet Fund.

Although the signs of this counterrevolution aren't as ubiquitous as corporate agribusiness' looming presence, they are there, waiting for more consumers to notice and choose them. For instance, the presence of farmers' markets has increased by 79 percent in the U.S. Similarly, community-supported agriculture programs (CSA), which allow non-farmers to invest directly in a local farm in exchange for weekly shares of fresh produce, number more than 1,000 in the states.

'I'm not going to argue we'll see change overnight or that Wal-Mart will go away anytime soon,' says Lapp?. 'But we also must believe our eyes, ears, and taste buds, as our society heads in two directions at once, we can choose. We can turn in the direction of hope, choosing a path that is healthy for ourselves and our planet. Each of us has that power.'
-- Erica Wetter

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