Food Sustainability Goes Well Beyond Millennials

The Lempert Report
November 17, 2016

So what is making up the current Food Movement?

Over the past few years the food conversation has been focused on how the Millennials have changed all the rules and how this generation is making their food choices based on a unique set of criteria including the traceability and sustainability of our foods and the companies that produce them. 

And it goes beyond our American borders. Counterpunch reports that food is the organizing principle behind the main challengers of existing power structures. In their interview with Miguel Ramirez the national coordinator of El Salvador’s Organic Agriculture Movement he shared that “We say that every square meter of land that is worked with agro-ecology is a liberated square meter. We see it as a tool to transform farmers’ social and economic conditions. We see it as a tool of liberation from the unsustainable capitalist agricultural model that oppresses farmers”. 

Here in the US, many consumers are suspicious of foods that are imported from central and South America. Perhaps its time to change that perception. Ramirez goes on to explain that the Salvadoran organic agriculture movement wants much more than improved farming. It is seeking enhanced political rights, long-term ecological sustainability, social equity and popular health.  

In a New York Times report they found that food movements are rapidly growing across the world. In the US alone, there have been surges of interest in heirloom seeds, in craft beers, in artisian breads and baked goods, in city garden plots, and certainly in organic food production.  

So what makes up the current “food movement?” 

According to the Counterpunch the philosophy is apparent in five notable qualities: 

1) The food movement is a leaderless movement – in a good way. 

The food movement has no formal leaders, who do not set goals, give orders or decide on the movement’s tactics. These individuals are sources of inspiration that has created an organic and self-organized strong movement. 

2) The food movement is an inclusive movement of all kinds of Americans from all walks of life and across all class lines.   

3) The food movement is international 

4) The food movement is low-budget and owes nothing to big food, philanthropists, foundations or billionaire backers.   

5) The food movement has many values and integrates human health, animal welfare, agricultural sustainability, ecological sustainability, food justice, political empowerment.

We are in a new world of food, the question is whether or not our current leadership of food companies, retailers and associations can understand and embrace how it has changed – if not, it may be time to step aside.