The sustainable food movement comes into its own

farmers marketPhoto: Natalie MaynorA decade ago, food was a necessary evil that environmentalists scarfed down as they biked to the next anti-whaling rally. But that changed in the ’00s. The publication in 2001 of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation brought food-related issues onto the progressive radar screen by shining a light on the brutal social conditions that underpin our current system. The election of George W. Bush and its attendant hopelessness pushed greens to focus inward on things they could actually change, like their underwear and their diets. And then in 2005, Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma offered a feast of reasons to rebuild local and regional food systems. Progressives nationwide flocked to farmers’ markets, joined CSAs, gobbled up organics, and launched farms and community gardens. Meanwhile, the effort to bring fresh, wholesome food to low-income urban areas grew into a movement known as “food justice.” As the role of agricultural production in climate change becomes ever clearer, food is claiming its rightful place at the green table, with no expiration date in sight.