Eat and Play to Support Sustainable Agriculture

Beth Munnich
Renewing the Countryside

As consumers, every dollar we spend is effectively a vote in favor of a company’s way of doing business. Since the beginning of the organic movement, concerned consumers have voted with their dollars for foods grown without pesticides, herbicides, hormones, or antibiotics, often combining their self-interest in better health with a concern for the health of the agricultural ecosystem. More recently, consumers have begun to pay attention to issues like sweatshop labor and fair trade when buying everything from sneakers to coffee.

Green tourism helps consumers apply the same ethic of consumption to their travels around the state of Minnesota. As a coordinated approach, green tourism allows a region to share its natural and cultural assets with visitors and attract revenue to the community, but still maintain those assets and resources for future generations. Green Routes, a green tourism project of the Minnesota-based non-profit Renewing the Countryside, directs travelers to restaurants and cafes that use local foods, environmentally-friendly and locally-owned businesses, and natural amenities. In addition, it opens opportunities to meet local artisans, take in local cultural attractions, and recreate in low-environmental-impact ways like hiking, biking, canoeing, or birding. In other words, Green Routes offers a way for travelers to plan itineraries and select destinations that support their values and allow them to support like-minded businesses with their travel dollars.

Read Up

Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life, New Society, 2004. The stories of two authors that started Inn Serendipity, a small organic farm and bed and breakfast in Wisconsin.

Values of Agrarian Landscapes Across Europe and North America, IATP, 2005. Takes a unique and colorful journey through farm landscapes throughout the world.

Act Locally
Renewing the Countryside
Minneapolis, MN

Clean Up the River Environment
Montevideo, MN

Sustainable Agriculture

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