On election day tomorrow, the food movement will learn if it has curdled before living up to its hype. That would be a shame, for its future holds much promise. The growing popularity of farmers' markets, the ballooning consumer appetite for organic everything, and the increasing attention paid to healthy diets (thanks Michelle Obama!) have fomented a legitimate social movement. People have come to care deeply about they eat and how it's made. That's a good thing. What's not such a good thing is the food movement betting its rising stock on anti-GMO zealotry. I have a new piece at Slate laying out why. Here's a short excerpt to whet your taste:
Managing our global food supply in a sustainable, efficient manner necessarily involves allowing for both organic and conventional agriculture. But a simplistic, down-with-industrial-farming chant rings loudly throughout the food movement. Sure, there are legitimate grievances about the corporate conduct of multinational food and agricultural companies. But since when is that unique to big business of any nature? For example, there are compelling social justice issues related to the making of cell phones and sneakers, but I don't see people demonizing Apple's or Nike's technological innovations.
So why is Big Ag different from Big Smartphone or Big Sneaker? And why has concern over how the world's food is grown become so strongly identified with concern over genetically modified crops?
Have a read and let me know what you think.