From 22 – 30 October 2008 Prof. Cornelia Butler Flora (Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Sociology and Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Iowa State University, USA) visited the Netherlands to participate in the European Eemland Conference and the Agriculture in Transition Conference. She concluded her stay in the Netherlands with a seminar for the Mansholt Graduate School of Social Sciences of Wageningen University about the Good Food Movement in the USA. It was very interesting to learn more about the genesis of this movement, in particular how a diversity of interests are somehow aligning around this broad notion of good food. To give some examples of this diversity of social movements and interests:
- The ‘labor movement’ emphasizing a fair income for agricultural workers;
- The ‘social justice and economic security movement’ seeking affordable food (especially for the lower income groups);
- The ‘anti-globalization movement’ in favour of locally produced food;
- The ‘green movement’ focussing on strategies to reduce the environmental impact of food production;
- The ‘humane farming movement’ addressing animal welfare concerns in food production;
- The ‘anti-obesity movement’ advocating healthy eating as part of a healty lifestyle;
- The ‘farmers’ movement’ striving for a fair farmers’ price.
The notion of ‘community based economic development’ seems to be a development trajectory capable of uniting these sometimes competing (e.g. fair farmers’ price vs. affordable food for low-income groups) movements and interests. Although still a niche, the ‘good food movement’ is growing rapidly. It would be very relevant for many European countries, regions and cities to learn more about this ‘good food movement’ and the role played by the food policy councils that many states and cities in the USA have. These councils are also seen as a means to enhance food democracy.