This article examines, deriving from Aristotelian concepts of the human right to a good life, the moral values that underlie contemporary efforts to transform the food system. Through qualifying labels such as organic, local, artisan, fair trade, healthy, and sustainable, foods are labeled as good or virtuous. Yet the translation of idealized notions of virtuous foods into analysis and action remains problematic, given the tendency of the U.S. moral compass to veer quickly toward the puritanical. The article concludes that a better strategy would be to reject the individual pursuit of virtuous foods and instead work collectively to create other shared values.

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