Foodies will save the world

In a recent TIME Magazine article, author Bryan Walsh surmises that the environmental movement has lost momentum and efficacy; and perhaps the only saving grace will be those commonly referred to as “foodies.”

A growing movement of organic farming enthusiasts—primarily fueled by younger generations—is flocking to farms, where they’re working or starting their own.

According to Walsh, “Even as traditional environmentalism struggles, another movement is rising in its place, aligning consumers, producers, the media and even politicians. It’s the food movement, and if it continues to grow it may be able to create just the sort of political and social transformation that environmentalists have failed to achieve in recent years.”

Unlike the environmental movement, which Walsh suggests was birthed by the Sierra Club and has moved in a bit of a clunky amorphous way, the food movement is different. “There are now thousands of community-supported agriculture programs around the country, up from just two in 1986. There are more than 6,000 farmers markets, up 16% from just a year ago. Sales of organic food and beverages hit nearly $25 billion in 2009, up from $1 billion in 1990, and no less a corporate behemoth than Walmart has muscled into the organic industry, seeking out sustainable suppliers. Green chefs like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., have become national superstars, and local sourcing has become a must for hip restaurants in Brooklyn, Berkeley and in between.”

Though Walsh suggests the foodie movement is all about pleasure, food safety and access are environmental issues at their core. If we can’t eat, we cannot do much else. Our need for nourishment fuels our efforts to ensure a healthy planet and that’s perhaps why foodies may in fact be eclipsing the staunch voice of environmentalists.

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