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How the Food Movement Is Gaining Strength

From rural farms to urban dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, ever more people are finding their voices and taking action.
 
 
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Photo Credit: © Anna Diederich/ Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
 

This article was published in partnership with  GlobalPossibilities.org.

More and more people
are realizing that our food chain is in crisis. Agribusiness has made profits more important than your health -- more important than the environment -- and more important than your right to know how your food is produced.

The United States now spends nearly  20 percent of GDPon health care, but levels of obesity, diabetes and chronic illness are  higher than ever.

Perhaps because so many people are suffering, beneath the surface, a revolution has been building.

From rural farms to urban dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, ever more people are finding their voices and taking action. If you believe in taking responsibility for your health, if you believe there is an important link between the quality of the food you eat and the quality of your life, you are part of this movement.

In the seven years after my dad and colleague, John Robbins, released the first edition of his landmark bestseller  Diet for a New America in 1987,  beef consumption in the United States dropped by 19 percent. The National Cattlemen's Association, not pleased, pointedly blamed  Diet For A New America. Since then, beef consumption has continued to slowly drop, while  organic food sales have increased over 26-fold, to now exceed  four percent of market share.

This month marks the release of the 25th anniversary edition of  Diet For A New America, and it couldn't come at a more opportune time. People are taking an increasing interest in the way that the animals raised for food are treated. In fact, a  poll conducted by Lake Research partners found that 94 percent of Americans agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from cruelty. Nine U.S. states have now joined the entire European Union in  banning gestational crates for pigs, and Australia's two largest supermarket chains  now sell only cage-free eggs in their house brands.

The demand is growing for food that is organic, sustainable, fair trade, GMO-free, humane, and healthy. In cities around the world, we're seeing more and more farmer's markets (a nearly  three-fold increase in the last decade), and more young people getting back into farming. Grocery stores (even big national chains) are displaying local, natural and organic foods with pride. The movements for healthy food are growing fast, and starting to become a political force.

Earlier this year, California voters put an initiative on the ballot that called would have mandated the labeling of food containing GMOs. Monsanto and their buddies in the pesticide and junk food business were forced to spend $46 million burying California's voters under an  avalanche of deception in order to narrowly defeat California's Proposition 37 in the November election. Although they won the battle, more than six million California voters had come out in favor of the "right to know." It was clear that the natural foods movement was becoming a political force to be reckoned with.

Now organizers in  30 other states have begun building GMO labeling campaigns, and efforts to improve treatment of animals, to make factory farms pay for the pollution they produce, and to reform the food offered in school lunches are all gaining strength.

What You Can Do

Go to the movies. Eric Schlosser's  Food, Inc., Drs. Caldwell Esslestyn and T. Colin Campbell's  Forks Over Knives, and Jeffrey Smith's  Genetic Roulette are some of the most popular and insightful films currently on the market.

Boycott the bad guys. Many people are choosing to boycott companies that  oppose labeling of GMOs, that treat  farm animals cruelly, or that profit from the sale of  junk food. Other consumers are choosing to buy from the good guys. For example, the non-profit  Non-GMO Project, which offers a third party certification program, has now verified 764 products, and had a  record-shattering 189 new enrollment inquiries in October. You can also check out the  farmer's market nearest you.

 
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