Top 8 Green Food Movements of All Time

Kosher organic Bible Bar in box photo
Migrated Image

Image: all natural prevention

Religious laws based on moral principles and establishing the first health guidelines inspired the first food movements. The history of modern food movements could be said to date to the formation of the Vegetarian Society, in 1847. Members of the Vegetarians claim the word derives from the Latin word for lively, which is how the diet makes them feel. Since then, the pace of food movements has accelerated madly: from Raw food to slow food, fair food, and local food. We've rounded up the top 8 green food movements of all times, starting with God and ending with Notting Hill.

1. Religious Diets

Keeping Kosher and following the Islamic principles of Halal rank among the most widely embraced food movements, with centuries of history behind their principles. In the U.S., the market for Kosher is growing fast, from $142 billion in 2003 to $211 billion in 2008. Halal foods constitute 16% of the global food industry, or $632 billion, according to Time magazine. Although probably not motivated by "green consciousness," both Kosher and Halal include elements of respect for the animals which are eaten by humans. But even if religious prescriptions for slaughtering animals were probably intended to ensure a painless death, or at least improve contemporary practices, modern animal rights activists argue that the now-outdated methods (Both require cutting an animal's throat with a sharp blade while it is still conscious, verses potentially quicker methods like electrical or chemical, at times when the animal is unconscious) constitute cruelty to animals.

2. Vegetarian Jainism

Jainism Vegetarian Meal photo
Jains, Vegetarians Among Vegetarians

Image: Jains, Vegetarians Among Vegetarians

According to Wikipedia, Vegetarian Jainism practitioners avoid all unnecessary cruelty in their foods. This can go so far as to exclude root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic and onions because the roots are the source of life for the plants. Although Jainism does not exclude consumption of milk products, veganism is often practiced in the face of the cruelties of modern farming practices.

3. Modern (Western) Vegetarianism

Root vegetables photo
Flickr, Alexlomas

Image: Flickr, Alexlomas

According to a 2006 survey by Vegetarian Journal, 6.7% of Americans say they never eat meat and 2.3% are strict vegetarians, eliminating fish, seafood and poultry from their diet. The Vegetarian Society, founded in 1847, began as a health movement. Today, the vegetarian diet is spreading as people look for everyday choices they can make to prevent climate change. From Tommy Lee to superstar athletes, word is spreading on the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

4. Slow Food

Slow food snail photo
Flickr, Hamed Saber

Image: Flickr, Hamed Saber

For eco-advocates who just can't let go of their weekly steak, Slow Food is an appealing option. As Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini says: "A gastronome who is not an environmentalist is stupid. An environmentalist who is not a gastronome is boring." Initially a reaction against fast food, Slow Food has evolved into a philosophy that embraces variety, especially preserving our food heritage, and sustainability as well as encouraging people to slow down and appreciate food.