By David Gumpert
These are heady times for foodies—you know, the people who love farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSAs), and hate Big Ag. They’ve turned the documentary movies “Food Inc.” and “Fresh!” into big hits. And they’ve turned “Slow food” into a generic term (there actually is an organization by that name that boasts more than 100,000 members in 132 countries).
A seeming army of foodie bloggers (of which I am one) sees the hand of Big Ag’s pesticides and feedlot practices (Monsanto, Con Ag, Tyson, etc.) in the explosive growth of chronic disease, and genetically modified food. It’s a neat good-guy/bad-guy scenario, with only one wild card: Is the U.S. government with or against the foodies?
The movement is about more than symbolism. After years of decline during the last century, the number of small farms (those with less than $250,000 annual sales) increased about one percent between 2002 and 2007. Many of these farms have adopted innovations in farming practices popularized by farmers like Eliot Coleman and Joel Salatin—using compost and seaweed rather than commercial fertilizers to build up soil, putting chickens onto pasture so they eat bugs and grass, using pigs as low-maintenance rototillers, and substituting mineralization and homeopathic programs for antibiotics and vaccinations to improve animal health.
Increasingly, the heroes in this ongoing food drama are President and Michelle Obama, along with the president’s appointees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Michelle Obama has received much acclaim for planting an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. A popular blog, Obama Foodorama, even chronicles the Obamas’ food and eating experiences, including menus at state dinners, and Michelle Obama’s guest appearance on Sesame Street, promoting fresh vegetables.
Read full post at Grist