How the Food Movement Is Gaining Strength

How the Food Movement Is Gaining Strength

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 GDP on 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.

I-am-not-a-science-experiment1From 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.

People are also 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.

In 2012, 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 Washington’s Initiative 522 stands an excellent chance of passing on November 5. As well,  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.

Join the struggle for GMO labeling. Want to work for policy change? Think you deserve the right to know if your food contains GMOs? Add your voice, and if possible also your time and your dollars, in support of Washington’s Initiative 522. You can sign on as a supporter here.

Get politically engaged. For the passionate activist, there’s always more you can do, like lobbying your member of Congress, your mayor, your governor, your local media outlets, or your relatives. You can also join the Humane Society’s campaign for farm animal protection, or Farm Sanctuary’s work for animal welfare legislation.

Get engaged and informed. For a directory of organizations working for healthy, sustainable and humane food, as well as free access to dozens of cutting edge articles and tools to help you make a difference, you can sign up to join the Food Revolution Summit. Or check out the forthcoming book, Voices of the Food Revolution, which captures some of the top insights of gamechanging food movement leaders.

Big agribusiness would probably like us all to sit alone in the dark, munching on highly processed, genetically engineered, chemical-laden, pesticide-contaminated pseudo-foods. But the tide of history is turning, and regardless of how much they spend attempting to maintain their hold on our food systems, more and more people are saying No to foods that lead to illness, and YES to foods that help us heal.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Knowledge is power & people need to be aware of these many problems & become more involved in improving them & passing on this knowledge.
    Thanks for making us more aware of these issues & giving us knowledge & guidance as to how to go about improving them!

  2. The Food Revolution is to the 21st Century is what the Non-smoking Campaigns were to the 20th Century…… The work to be done is monumental but more and more of us understand its utter importance!

  3. The Food Revolution is to the 21st Century is what the Non-smoking Campaigns were to the 20th Century…… The work to be done is monumental but more and more of us understand its utter importance!

  4. I would like to know where I can get a list of the companies that are on Monsanto’s side to not label foods that are GMO. I have been boycotting the companies that I already know are in their back pocket.

  5. I would like to know where I can get a list of the companies that are on Monsanto's side to not label foods that are GMO. I have been boycotting the companies that I already know are in their back pocket.

  6. I found an app I love for my iPhone – Buycott. I scan the bar code on the food I am questioning and it will tell me if the company is offensive to our cause or not. I also downloaded nonGMO and ShopNoGMO.

  7. I found an app I love for my iPhone – Buycott. I scan the bar code on the food I am questioning and it will tell me if the company is offensive to our cause or not. I also downloaded nonGMO and ShopNoGMO.

  8. Such a blog can really revolutionize our entire food networks. They are really healing our body and world with food. It also informs everyone in signing petitions to the consumer court against the low standard in food quality.
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  9. Knowledge is power & people need to be aware of these many problems & become more involved in improving them & passing on this knowledge.
    Thanks for making us more aware of these issues & giving us knowledge & guidance as to how to go about improving them!

  10. Switch to a vegan diet/way of life. It is beneficial to your health to do so, is good for the planet, and is a moral choice in that you must consider the implications of supporting the cruelty inherent in factory farming. You have a moral obligation to watch an undercover video and to learn what cruelty, pain, and suffering that you are paying for.You would not commit such acts yourself. "Meat" is not something that comes in those plastic packages. It is parts of the body of a creature that just wanted to live as intended. These videos may convince you to adopt a cruelty-free way of life.

    • I totally agree. I am involved in animal rights and stopped eating meat and poultry about 7 years ago when I watched a program on factory farming. It is horrific that they do this to these beautiful, intelligent creatures. Instead of people saying don't tell me and looking the other way, (which I get a lot when I try to talk about it) they should watch videos about it like you said. Thanks for caring. Ellen

  11. I use the Buycott app on my telephone to scan bar codes. It tells me what companies to avoid, which turns out to be most of the major labels in this country. Even Paul Newman's company donated a lot of money to defeat Prop 37 in California, so I no longer buy those products.

  12. Here is an answer from our representative in Congress to whom I sent an email regarding the Monsanto Protection Act. She is supposed to be a progressive Democrat.

    "All GE crops undergo vigorous scientific oversight by the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With few exceptions, GE crops are subject to a thorough environmental impact review and a plant pest risk assessment. I am dedicated to securing safe food for America's families while protecting the needs of our country's farmers".

  13. Thank you Ocean for your hard work on all these food initiatives. Monsanto has might, but might does not make right. We all need to fight this egregious attempt to take over the food supply. The age of "I know nothing" and the "Chemical Age" are over, but there is lots of mopping up to do.

  14. Keep up the good work. With the leadership of your father, I'll bet we could start an organization that could raise enough cash to buy the rights to the great documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Eating. We could distribute them as tirelessly as Gidian's pass out Bibles.

  15. I would like to know where I can get a list of the companies that are on Monsanto’s side to not label foods that are GMO. I have been boycotting the companies that I already know are in their back pocket.

  16. Just makes me sick about these organization cheating us about the food. So, Ocean is doing a wonderful job about these things. So, all you people on facebook join the revolution for food safety.

  17. I am a pure Vegan and have enjoyed being such. Was wondering what I could do even as I try to avoid GMOs as much as possible but find it impossible to do so as even when eating as a guest in others’ houses inevitably there is any type of conventional veg oil or non organic stuff. Plus, it is hard to get all organic on a limited budget. Was wondering of any herbs or less costly supplements I can take to fight off any gmos I am exposed to inevitably even as I am still against big ag and big foid co.s? Would be ideal to be in a gmo free world!

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