Mother Jones Debates the Future of Our Food Systems

empty farm field photo

Photo via Iowa Spirit Walker via Flickr CC

A debate is going on over at Mother Jones about our food systems, sparked by a piece written Paul Roberts pointing out that sustainable food systems aren't all that easy to obtain when it comes to feeding billions of people. Three contributors to Mother Jones take on the idea and pose their own opinions about it. The debate on how to go organic and sustainable on a large scale is decades old. Really, "sustainable" and "large scale" don't exactly align in the first place. And solving our problems around safe, reliable, organic food is still an uphill battle. Roberts addresses this idea in his piece entitled, "Spoiled." But his is just one opinion.

Lisa Gosselin writes:

I could not agree more with Roberts' comments on our food system, and agree that we need to consider the life-cycle impacts of food production, not just be content with the feel-good labels of "organic" and "local."

Yet if people have a better understanding and appreciation of food because they grew it themselves, or met the farmer who grew it, that's a good thing.

On the other hand, Jim Harkness states:
Organic and local as designer labels may be an elitist passing fancy, but as principles for building a fair and sustainable food system they are essential. Yes, in a consumer society even good ideas get appropriated and commodified. ("The revolution is just a T-shirt away!") But this is more useful as a wry observation about the ironies of anti-systemic movements than as a thesis for analyzing the problems of the food system.

But Ryan Zinn says:
"Is organic and local so 2008?" More like organic and local is so 2018! While Roberts' attempt at deconstructing and demystifying "organic" and "local" is both admirable and needed, building a truly sustainable food system is infinitely more complex, yet increasingly attainable.

What do you think? Head over to Mother Jones to read these writers' full opinions and add some fuel to the fire.

More on Organic, Sustainable Food
What is Sustainable? Part IV: Understanding Food Labels
Eating Local Food: The Movement, Locavores and More
Eat Well Guide Shares High Tech Tools for the Sustainable Food Movement

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