Forbes, December 10, 2012
After posting articles about how consumer trends will change the way we eat and recommending seven great gift ideas for your sustainability obsessed foodie, I am now here to tell you that shopping will not change the world.
Although buying from small farms, investing in community supported agriculture and shopping at the farmer’s market are helpful, these actions need to be backed up with changes in government policy. Consumers need to act not only as informed shoppers, but also as engaged citizens, pressuring lawmakers to support healthier, more sustainable agriculture and food distribution in the form of concrete policies.
The idea is not new, but Stacy Mitchell, a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), gave the compelling TEDx talk below on the subject and reminded me how ‘voting with our dollars’ can have only limited results.
Mitchell tells us, “As remarkable as these trends are, they are unlikely to amount to more than an small sideshow on the margins of the mainstream if the only way we can conceive of confronting corporate power and bringing about a new economy is through our buying decisions… What we really need to do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t do that through the sum of our individual behavior in the marketplace. We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.”