Diet for a New America
How the Food Movement Is Gaining Strength
By Ocean Robbins
Our food chain is in crisis.
Big agribusiness has made profits more important than your health — more
important than the environment — more important than your right to know how
your food is produced.
The United States now spends
nearly 20% of GDP on health care, and levels of obesity, diabetes, and chronic
illness are higher than ever.
But even as so many people
are suffering, beneath the surface, a revolution has been building.
From rural farms to urban
dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, people are
rising up and taking action. We are beginning to reclaim our food systems and
our menus, and we are taking responsibility for our health.
In the seven years after my
dad and colleague, John Robbins, released the first edition of his landmark
bestseller Diet for a New America in 1987, beef consumption in the United
States dropped by 19%. The National Cattlemen’s Association, not pleased,
pointedly blamed Diet For A New America. Since then, beef consumption has
continued to slowly drop, while the organic food sales have increased over
26-fold, to now exceed 4% of market share.
This year marks the release of the 25th
anniversary edition of Diet For A New America, and it couldn’t come at a more
opportune time. People are taking an increasing interest in the way animals
raised for food are treated. In fact, a poll conducted by Lake
Research partners found 94 percent of Americans agree that animals raised for
food on farms deserve to be free from cruelty. Nine U.S. states have now joined
the entire European Union in banning gestational crates for pigs, and
Australia’s two largest supermarket chains now sell only cage-free eggs in
their house brands.
The demand is growing for
food that is organic, sustainable, fair trade, GMO-free, humane, and healthy.
In many cities around the world, we’re seeing more and more farmer’s markets (a
nearly 3-fold increase in the last decade), and more young people getting back
into farming. Grocery stores (even big national chains) are displaying local,
natural and organic foods with pride. The movements for healthy food are
growing fast, and starting to become a political force.
Earlier this year, California
voters put an initiative on the ballot that would have mandated the labeling of
food containing GMOs. Monsanto and their buddies in the pesticide and junk-food
business were forced to spend $46 million burying California’s voters under an
avalanche of deception in order to narrowly defeat California’s Proposition 37
in the November election. Though they won the battle, more than 5.5 million
California voters had come out in favor of the “right to know.” It was clear
that the natural foods movement was becoming not just a lifestyle choice for a
few hippies, but a political force to be reckoned with.
Now organizers in 30 other
states have begun to build GMO-labeling campaigns, and efforts to improve
treatment of animals, to make factory farms pay for the pollution they produce,
and to reform the food offered in school lunches are all gaining strength.
What You Can Do:
Go to the movies. Eric Schlosser’s
Food, Inc., Drs. Caldwell Esslestyn and T. Colin
Campbell’s Forks Over Knives, and Jeffrey Smith’s Genetic Roulette are some of
the most popular and insightful films currently on the market.
Boycott the bad guys. Many
people are choosing to boycott companies that oppose labeling of GMOs, that
treat farm animals cruelly, or that profit from the sale of junk food. Other
consumers are choosing to buy from the good guys. For example, the non-profit
Non-GMO Project, which offers a 3rd party certification program, has now
verified 764 products, and had a record-shattering 189 new enrollment inquiries
in October. You can also check out the farmer’s market nearest you.
Sign petitions for GMO labeling.
Want to work for policy change? A team of organizations, led by Care2 and the
Food Revolution Network, have launched a petition demanding that Congress label
GMOs, and it has already generated more than 57,000 signatures. Last year’s JustLabelIt petition to the FDA, which generated more than
1.3 million signatures, is being revived in hopes that the FDA might eventually
dig itself out of Monsanto’s back pocket.
Get politically engaged. For the
passionate activist, there’s always more you can do, like lobbying your member
of Congress, your mayor, your governor, your local media outlets, or your
relatives. You can also join the Humane Society’s campaign for farm animal
protection, or Farm Sanctuary’s work for animal welfare legislation.
Get engaged and informed. For
a directory of organizations working for healthy, sustainable and humane food,
as well as free access to dozens of cutting- edge articles and tools to help
you make a difference, you can join the Food Revolution Network. Or check out
the newly- released 25th anniversary edition of Diet for a New America, the
book that helped to launch the modern food movement. Big agribusiness would
like us all to sit alone in the dark, munching on highly-processed,
genetically-engineered, chemical-laden, pesticide-contaminated pseudo-foods.
But the tide of history is turning, and regardless of how much they spend
attempting to maintain their hold on our food systems, we will prevail.
Ocean Robbins is founder and
co-host (with best-selling author John Robbins) of the 75,000 member Food
Revolution Network, an initiative to help you heal your body, and your world...
with food. To find out more sign up at www.foodrevolution.org/