Environmentalism is so freakin’ hot right now, food mags are peppering their pages with green pieces more than ever before—and courting plenty of green-minded advertisers in the process. In many instances, discussions of ecofriendly products and practices feel natural and effortless, but in others they seem like much more of a reach. Case in point: Food & Wine’s first-ever Eco-Epicurean Awards, the winners of which are announced in the magazine’s latest issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that ecoconsciousness is gaining mass appeal (though sometimes I can’t help but worry that environmentalism’s newfound trendiness will spur a backlash unless the movement continues to evolve in interesting, ever-greener directions); and F&W’s ecocharity initiative, the newish Grow for Good campaign, is admirable. Moreover, three of F&W’s five selections for the eco awards make sense—the organic chocolatier Theo Chocolate, the “school-lunch visionary” Revolution Foods, and the garden-design team Edible Estates all deal directly with food and seem like natural fits for the magazine.
But the other two selections feel shoehorned in: F&W never or rarely covers beauty products or home design in its regular editorial content, and yet here it showcases an exemplary “beauty innovator” (Pangea Organics) and an “eco-furniture emporium” (Vivavi Furniture). These weird choices seem like they’re meant either to please advertisers in the cosmetics and design realms, or to fill a gap in the editors’ ecoknowledge. Weren’t there two other green food or wine companies worthy of awards here?