about farm families and consumers. Of course, this is no new
claim, and is not specific to just agriculture.
Some activists believe the twin towers of big business and
big government are unavoidable, and thus support an even
larger government, hoping that it will exert more democratic
control over food production. The Food Democracy Now!
organization, mentioned earlier, believes that corporations
dictate government policies, yet at the same time is asking
government to make labeling of genetically modified food
mandatory. Another example is the Humane Society of the
United States, whose strategy assumes that large, confined
animal-feeding operations are here to stay (yes, the Humane
Society would like a worldwide conversion to veganism, but
does not believe it likely) and thus pursues regulations to
reduce the suffering it believes farm animals experience.
Unsatisfied with big business and big government, some
are asking us to think smaller, suggesting we should obtain
food from farms that are the antithesis of big business. Organic
farming emerged as a desire to do without the fertilizers and
pesticides produced in large factories, or the seeds produced
in a laboratory. Organic food is partially a protest against the
industrial style of production that is so prevalent in the mod-
ern economy, but thought by some to be incompatible with
ethical food. Then Walmart started selling organic food, and
for some, organic lost its allure. It “sold out” to big business,
one might say.
Walmart is successful for many reasons, one being its large
distribution system connecting farmers and consumers hun-
dreds of miles away. That system is not equipped to sell local
foods, it would seem, so when locavores began writing topics
and producing films, they considered local foods immune to
competition from corporations. Never underestimate Walmart
though, as it eventually figured out how to compete in this
market as well. Modern food movements are akin to a game of
catch, whereby food activists seek to distinguish themselves
from big business, only to have corporations co-opt their cause.