3 Minutes on the Food Movement: Progress is Evident

3 Minutes on the Food Movement: Progress is Evident

March 19, 2019 Michael R. Dimock

This is Michael Reid Dimock with three minutes on the food movement, a series within the weekly podcast, Flipping the Table, sponsored by Roots of Change and the Public Health Institute.

Changing a way of thinking that shapes a culture is hard, no matter the scale. That is the case with the good food movement, the roots of which stretch back to Sir Albert Howard in Great Britain in the 1940s and then the hippy movement’s organic farmers of the 1960s here in the US. We are almost 60 years in and there is a long way to go. But I am heartened by what I am seeing. There is real progress. I offer three bits of evidence.

First, as I shared on February 19th when I spoke about the Green New Deal, it is clear that a significant number of Congressional leaders understand that agriculture must be transformed to make farmers and ranchers part of the solution to global warming, poverty and diet-related disease. Policy makers in many states including Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon are increasing their focus on agriculture and food for the same reasons. And at the county and city level across the land you see lots of evidence that officials are changing policies to improve the health and resilience of communities. San Jose, California is considering a proposal to permanently protect and enhance the last large section of the place once called the Valley of the Hearts Delight before it became known as the Silicon Valley. Proponents see this as one way to meet the city’s global warming commitments under the Paris Accords. I am not claiming a majority of policy makers are with us, far from it, but there are enough to keep the issue simmering and that is good for now. Because as the challenges intensify, the food system solutions will shine brighter and brighter.

Second, I recently attended the California Climate and Agriculture Network’s annual summit in which the latest science related to soil and agriculture as well as advocacy efforts were shared. I was deeply impressed and inspired by the scientific evidence that shows how farmers and ranchers are capturing harmful carbon in the soil and by the fact that California is now investing hundreds of millions in programs that use agriculture as a tool to turn the tide on global warming. If you want to know more about those programs, listen to my four minutes on Healthy Food and Farming from March 4th.

Finally, this past week, I recorded two conversations with very inspiring leaders: Navina Khanna of the Heal Food Alliance and Anna Lappé of Real Food Media. We discussed their journeys into the movement, their work and reflections on what is needed to go further. From both Navina and Anna, I saw how momentum for change is growing, how the movement is becoming more sophisticated and the changes themselves are becoming more strategic, meaning more impactful. I hope you will subscribe to Flipping the Table so you can hear those conversations, which will be up in April and May. Next week, hear Paul Dolan a pioneer of sustainable agriculture. We will hear about his farm and explore the meaning of the terms biodynamic and regenerative and why they point to our sustainable future. Thank you.

Anna Lappe, Biodynamic, CalCan, carbon sequestration, climatesmart agriculture, Heal Food Alliance, healthy soil, Navina Khanna, Paul Dolan, Real Food Media