Blog, 301 words

The Fight for Control over Our Own Dinner Tables

The Good Food movement is one of today's most important populist struggles.

Jim Hightower

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist and former farm boy, once wrote: “[T]he central problem with modern industrial agriculture… [is] not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste, and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all. More fundamentally, it has no soul.”



That’s the driving ethic of the thriving “good food movement.” It rebuts the insistence that agriculture is nothing but a business.

Food certainly is a business, but it’s a good business — literally producing goodness — because it’s a way of life for hardworking people who practice the art and science of cooperating with Mother Nature, rather than always trying to overwhelm her.

Small-scale farmers don’t want to be massive or make a killing. They want to farm and make delicious, healthy foods that enrich the whole community.

This spirit was summed up in one word by Lee Jones, a sustainable farmer who was asked what he’d be if he wasn’t a farmer. He replied: “disappointed.” To farmers like him, food embodies our full “culture” — a word that is sculpted right into “agriculture” and is essential to its organic meaning.

Although agriculture is now flourishing throughout the land and has forestalled the total takeover of our food by crass agribusiness, the corporate powers and their political hirelings continue to press for the elimination of the food rebels and ultimately to impose their vision of complete corporatization.

The Good Food movement is one of today’s most important populist struggles. It’s literally a fight for control of our dinner, and it certainly deserves a major focus as we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this year.

To find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets, and other resources in your area for everything from organic tomatoes, to pastured turkey, visit

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

  • Brad Wilson

    It’s a great movement, but has a couple of flaws. It misunderstands that we’re a farm AND food movement, not knowing that we’ve (the farm justice side) been fighting this for 60 years, not knowing our (farm justice) history, and out of that, not knowing the meaning of justice on the biggest farm bill issues. Historically and ideally, the farm bill is primarily market management for economic justice. Jim Hightower was a key leader exactly on this in past decades, (ie. in facilitating the development the Farm Policy Reform Act,) but he doesn’t know what’s happening today (as seen in recent columns). What’s happening is that the Food Movement almost totally misses the market management issue in it’s advocacy, thus unknowingly siding with agribusiness against their family farm victims. Today we stand on the boundary of possibilities for which Hightower fought on for decades, losing the fight in farm bill after farm bill.