Considering Critiques of the Growing “Food Movement”: AAEA Member Research

Even if you agree these challenges are ones that should be addressed, are the policy proposals really going to meaningfully address those challenges?

MILWAUKEE

As America’s population has shifted from a farm-based economy to one driven by jobs in urban areas, a smaller number of farms are producing the vast majority of the country’s food.

That transformation, along with a change in attitudes about how food is produced, has led to what is known as the “food movement” – mainly made up of groups critical of food production practices and farm policies.

“The term really applies to individuals and organizations seeking to remake our food system and move us away from industrial agriculture,” says Jayson Lusk, best-selling author on food and social issues and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University.

Lusk examines the issues brought up by members of the “food movement” such as soda taxes, increased food labeling, and local and organic food production in his paper “Evaluating the Policies of the Food Movement,” which was selected to appear in the journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy (AEPP).

“The critique is a bit misplaced,” Lusk said. “Even if you agree these challenges are ones that should be addressed, are the policy proposals really going to meaningfully address those challenges? Will they bring about the changes [members of the food movement] are looking for?”

Lusk suggests the food movement is gaining traction, and it’s time to “take the critiques seriously and evaluate the proposals seriously.” So how is that best handled and who should come to the table if this culture change is going to continue?

If you are interested in setting up an interview with Jayson Lusk, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office. This article was also part of the AEPP journal’s podcast series, which you can access by clicking here.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit – http://www.aaea.org.

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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