Faith-based farming

The N.Y. Times carried a feature this morning about the role of religion in food production, including a quote from Arlin S. Wasserman, the founder of Changing Tastes, a consulting firm in St. Paul that advises food companies and philanthropic organizations on trends in food and agriculture:

"The religious movement is a huge force. Already, religious institutions oversee the production of $250 billion per year in food if you bundle together halal, kosher, and institutional buying.

“Religious leaders have been giving dietary advice for decades and centuries, telling us to eat fish on Friday or to keep kosher in your home. What we are seeing now are contemporary concerns like the fair treatment of farm workers, humane treatment of animals and respect for the environment being integrated into the dietary advice given by the churches.”

The Times story also quoted Joel Salatin, who is considered a guru of organic agriculture, as saying he has seen a change in the people who visit his Polyface farm in Virginia:

"Ten years ago most of my farm visitors were earth muffin tree-hugger nirvana cosmic worshipers. And now 80 percent of them are Christian home schoolers.”