Foodie Underground: Local Foods and Sustainability Really Booming


The point of Foodie Underground is to take a look at all things related to the underground food movement, but sometimes all those cool, avant-garde, underground things start to add up and lead to more than just a small movement; they start to become mainstream.

Food carts can be found in smaller cities that don’t start with words like “San” and “New,” a town without a farmers’ market is getting harder to find, and around the country people are starting to think about what the word “organic” really means. They may have started as underground trends, but the fact that more people are paying attention to what they eat and where it comes from is a good thing.

Proof? The National Restaurant Association surveyed almost 2,000 chefs to find out what they think the trends of 2010 will be come year’s end, and the answer wasn’t bacon. At the top of the list was locally grown produce, with 88 percent of the chefs naming it a hot trend. Some of the other trends that ranked highly in various categories were restaurants with on-site gardens, environmentally friendly kitchen equipment, locally produced wine and beer, and organic produce.

Where does that put the underground food movement? In a good spot. It means that all the efforts that go into sourcing food locally, brewing craft beers, supporting community gardens, and all the other things that conscious foodies around the country partake in on a regular basis are having a significant positive impact.

The work comes in turning these trends into culinary norms; until the general population comes to expect locally sourced produce whenever possible, and puts a value on organic, fresh food, then we’ve still got plenty of hours to put in supporting the ongoing underground movement.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground. Each week, Anna will be taking a look at something new and different that’s taking place in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to culinary avant garde.

Image: bokchoi-snowpea

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.