The Food Movement: What Does It Mean to YOU?
By WorldLink Staff | March 18, 2014 | 12 Comments
Every day, more and more of us come together around food, building a community to ensure that it is sustainable, safe, fair, healthy, and delicious for everyone. In compiling our collection of Nourish Perspectives, we’ve had the opportunity to ask a number of individuals the thought-provoking question: “What does the food movement mean to you?” Included below are some of our favorite responses, which illustrate the rich diversity of narrative threads that run through the story of our food.
Because our individual relationships with food are so personal, so too are our connections with the evolving food community. Each of us has his or her own unique story to tell about the changing food landscape and its broader significance. So we decided to ask you the same question we’ve posed to so many others:
What does the food movement mean to you?
We invite you to give the question some thought and, when you’re ready, to submit your own perspective in the comments below. In April, we’ll put the names of everyone who participates in a hat and pick a few lucky names. Prizes will include a Nourish Teacher Resource Binder and Nourish DVDs, which will be tucked into a Food Day tote bag along with copies of books by your favorite Nourish voices, such as:
- “The Art of Simple Food,” volumes 1 and 2, by Alice Waters (donated by The Edible Schoolyard Project)
- “Grub” by Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry (donated by Small Planet Institute)
- “Food Escapes” by Jamie Oliver (donated by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation)
So let’s hear it. As the examples below illustrate, there’s no right or wrong answer, no one-size-fits-all response. Every person has his or her own take. What’s yours?
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“The food movement is already full steam ahead with heroes and heroines, rich stories, innovative practices, policy agendas, organizations galore. Call the goal real or just or healthy or whole or natural or organic or local food, it’s on many people’s radar. Parents want good food for their children. People are concerned about the health effects of manufactured foods. More people are aware of food injustice—food deserts with no nearby real food, and modern day farm-worker exploitation. Academics and activists and advocates, businesspeople and financiers, farmers and ranchers and foragers, educators and parents and chefs are part of it. In fact, all eaters are part of this tide, this migration to a more nourishing and meaningful way of eating for our bodies and communities and kids’ futures.”
— Vicki Robin, Author
“The food movement acknowledges that food—like water and shelter and not much else––is fundamental. It challenges us to treat that fundamental thing, the food we eat, with respect. It asks that we nourish our bodies with food that is grown in an environmentally sustainable way; in a socially just way; in a way that builds culture and community; in a way that’s affordable and accessible to all. And it holds out a huge and hopeful possibility: that if we can solve all these challenges in the world of food, then we’ll know that we can solve them anywhere.”
— Curt Ellis, Executive Director, Food Corps
“It’s a spark of hope. There are more people—particularly young people—organizing around food justice than ever before. Their grand vision is backed up by action. I’m inspired to be part of a movement that’s fighting not just to end hunger, but to kick-start democracy.”
— Raj Patel, Author and Activist
“The food movement is about taking back control of where our food comes from and celebrating the power to feed ourselves and our community good food. A handful of companies are responsible for most of the food we eat. It should not be this way. We should control the food we eat. Over 300 farmers are leaving their land every week because they aren’t making ends meet. Our environment is screwed up, and industrial food production is a major cause. We are too distant to understand where our food comes from, how it is grown, and how to cook it. Food is a basic human need. In order to function and thrive, we need to eat well and feed each other well. We can’t do it unless we recognize and understand what good food is.”
— Sam Mogannam, Owner, Bi-Rite Market
“In 1988, it would have been nearly impossible to find a political analyst predicting the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yet, a point occurred in 1989 when enough activists had been at work with their tools that the political infrastructure and the foundation of the wall were sufficiently weakened, and the wall came tumbling down. In the same way, we have had food systems activists chipping away at the current broken food system for many years. Countless farmers, gardeners, leaders, students, teachers, writers, politicians, businesspeople, academics, and moms and dads, with the equivalent of chisels and hammers in their hands, have been challenging the current food system brick by brick. Every time someone decides to get their food at a farmers market, establishes a small-scale organic farm, or develops a new sustainable supply chain for their company, they are attempting to change the current system, one step at a time.”
— Oran Hesterman, President, Fair Food Network
“The food movement is at a crossroads, and each of us is in charge of the direction it takes. I am fighting to take the food movement towards a system that is conscious and respectful of the health of the environment, the quality of the food, the safety of our growers, and the future of consumers, especially our kids. This means to me a food system based on triple bottom line of healthy kids, healthy food, and healthy earth.”
— Ann Cooper, Chef and Author
“The food movement is about creating systems that are designed for sustainability. Nourishing our kids can go hand in hand with stewardship of the earth and a fair living for those who grow our food and provide our meals, inside or outside of school. Educating our children about food as a holistic system teaches them that each part of that system affects the others. A school food environment focused on sustainability provides students with an opportunity to learn and help create solutions to the many challenges faced by our hungry planet.”
— Amy Kalafa, Filmmaker and Author
“The food movement is about quality of life. What we eat affects how we feel physically and emotionally. How food is grown and processed has an impact on the health of those who eat it. How our food is produced affects the environment, the existence of wildlife, and the size and characteristics of our country’s farms. It also impacts the local and global economies.
How we eat affects our ability to interact with others and provide for ourselves, and it influences relationships with friend and families. Eating and preparing food with those we care about provides a much different experience than driving through a fast-food restaurant or eating in one’s car. How we spend our food dollars determines the kind of food system we create, and the health of our farms, families, and communities. As Wendell Berry said, ‘Eating is an agricultural act.’ With the present focus on local food systems, now is the time to vote with our forks, as well as our ballots, and make positive changes in the food system.”
— Marion Kalb, Co-founder, National Farm to School Network
“Few citizens know where their water comes from or where it goes when they flush the toilet. Few can name the watershed they live in. Few can name five native resident, non-human species. Few can point north or tell you the phase of the moon. The food movement is the best way to bridge this nature-deficit disorder as it connects, in a very obvious way, the land and waters to one’s health and economy. Farmers markets, especially, turn food into stories and conversation, an aspect of human life that is hundreds of thousands of years old. It is an inexhaustible journey.
Thinking about chile in New Mexico, for instance, one winds up in Ethiopia, Mexico, China, and Peru; in biotech and cultural arguments; in food colorant industries and the beauty of ristras; in local cafes, NAFTA, and the USDA. A passion for food or a particular food may not make it any easier to improve local living or our society, but it is definitely a delicious way to taste certain old truths about the worth of soil and rain, harvesting, cultivating, and cooking that cannot be found in any other way.”
— Peter Warshall, Co-Director, Dreaming New Mexico
“To me, the food movement is about mindfulness. Like so many other routines in our daily lives, we eat without thinking. That leads not only to the myriad diet-related health problems plaguing our population, but it robs us of experiencing the appreciation and awe for the miracle of food on our plates. From the science of turning a seed into an edible plant, to the historical knowledge about what’s safe to eat and what’s poison, to animal husbandry and fishing, to the people who do the planting, harvesting, processing, packaging, trucking, sous-chefing, and cooking—rich story and real people and places are present in every spoonful of what we eat. ”
— Cheryl Dahle, Executive Director, Future of FishMore: Food Literacy