The Sustainable Food Movement: Where’s Our Focus?

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” – Mother Teresa

We can learn a lot from that quote. In the sustainable food movement there is an inherent responsibility to protect the environment, soil, animal wellbeing, farm workers’ rights, and our local economies. How we work towards a more sustainable food system can take many different roads. One question to consider is “where do we want to focus our time, work, and energy to reach our organizational, community and societal food sustainability goals?”

Do we want to focus more of our time and energy fighting for something or fighting against something? Are we spending more time fighting for food security or fighting against food insecurity? Are we spending more time promoting and celebrating organic and sustainable farms, ranchers, and artisans or fighting against conventional, chemical-heavy industrial “food” operations? Are we spending more time sharing information about regenerative agriculture or fighting against companies that are depleting our soil and damaging our environment? Are we spending more time pointing out why CAFOs are terrible or more time promoting the benefits of holistic management?

There is indeed a balance to these dualistic focuses. We absolutely must tell those that are doing wrong how to change directions for the greater good. We also must let them know how to do it the right way.

Informing the public about the full truth of our food systems (the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly) is essential. Then, once we know the problem or challenge, the question is do we focus more of our time on the problem side or more on the solution side of the issue? Ensuring that these two yin and yang energies are balanced will help us be successful in our vision for a more sustainable food system.

How much time do we, as a collective, spend fighting against what we don’t like or want (e.g. Monsanto, bad ag policies, etc.) compared to how much energy is spent on promoting GMO-free food and all that is right with organic and sustainable agriculture? Are we spending too much time fighting against and not enough time fighting for?

We can to remind our friends and supporters of the solutions as well as the powerful organizations and farmers that are working for sustainable food, just as much, if not more, than we remind them of the corporations and politicians that are causing the problems. If we point out something that is wrong, then we can also give our readers some inspiration to help solve the problem as well as some steps they can take to support the sustainable food movement.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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