Are Organics and Locally-Produced Foods ‘Elitist’?

Last week, while cruising on the elliptical during my weekly visit to the gym, I had a chance to catch the May 14th episode of Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’. One of the Daily Show reporters, Samantha Bee, had a quick interview with Jeff Stier of the American Council of Science and Health – and I was shocked by many of Mr. Stier’s comments.

The discussion at hand revolved around the recent implementation of an organic garden at the White House, thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama. While many have hailed the move as a wonderful encouragement of organics and sustainability by the Obama administration, Mr. Stier had a different take on things.

“The Obama garden should come with a warning label. It’s irresponsible to tell people [that] you have to eat organically grown food because not everyone can afford it. It’s a serious public issue.”

A serious issue? How so, Mr. Stiers?

“If we decide we’re only going to eat locally-grown food, we’re going to have a lot of starvation…it’s elitist to tell people that you need to eat organic food.”

Elitist? With organics and locally-grown produce more readily available to the American masses through neighborhood supermarkets and superstores, like Target and Wal-Mart, I think Mr. Stiers is way off the mark by making such a statement. As the ACSH is funded by many of the big pesticide producers, including ConAgra and Dow, perhaps his anti-organic comments were more irresponsible than any argument he might have against the White House garden.

“If the Obamas wanted to send a responsible message, they would use pesticides, teaching children how to be more efficient and how to use chemicals to get more produce.”