Fresh and local food going mainstream

FOOD LOVERS HAVE ADVOCATED for locally grown produce, locally sourced meats and seafood and environmental sustainability. Now this mantra is becoming more of a concern to the “average diner” both at home and when dining out.

“As stresses on the planet mount— including climate change, the severe drought in the West, overfishing, mechanized agriculture and questions about genetically altered foods—we can expect to see a growing consciousness about our food sources,” one avid diner told the San Diego Union Tribune. “That’s a good thing.”

EXAMPLES ABOUND:

•In California, the number of food co-operatives is expected to double by 2016, compared with 10 years ago, with 11 new co-ops, according to BriarPatch Co-op. This mirrors a nationwide trend, with about 200 co-ops and 150 communities in some phase of new co-op development.

•Safeway Inc.’s announcement in March that it plans to sell itself for $9 billion is the latest sign that supermarkets have fallen out of style. Smaller neighborhood markets with locally sourced food are pulling their customers away, experts say.

•A California lawmaker recently introduced a new bill to label genetically engineered foods. The bill, SB 1381, is sponsored by a broad-based coalition. It is a simpler, cleaner version of Prop. 37, which voters rejected in 2012.

“California consumers want the right to know what is in the food they eat, plain and simple,” says coalition leader Rebecca Spector.

•The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently proposed to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. “You should be able pick an item off the shelf and tell whether it’s good for your family,” says First Lady Michelle Obama.

•Chipolte Mexican Grill debuted an original comedy series, “Farmed and Dangerous” that satirizes corporate agribusiness. The goal: choose food made from better ingredients.

Here’s a trailer from “Farmed and Dangerous”:

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