The Death of Organic? Not so fast

…according to Mark Morford.

One example: Stonyfield Farm’s organic yogurt. As BusinessWeek points out, the stuff is made not on an idyllic working farm like the one on the label but rather in a giant industrial factory. They get their milk trucked in from a whole range of suppliers and it’s possible they will soon begin to import some of their organic ingredients — in dried, powdered form — from New Zealand, so as to meet national demand, delivering it all over the country via pollutive trucking companies.

This is the harsh reality, the real cost of mainstream organic. There apparently aren’t enough happy small, Earth-conscious local farms around to produce this stuff in sufficient quantities to feed the entire Wal-Mart nation. Massive compromises have been made. And those compromises mean “organic” is a shell of its former self.

What Mr. Morford writes about is true, to a point. However, one should not discount what the organic movement has taught a fair amount of our population.Reading the labels, knowing where the food comes from, understanding the effect farming (and more to the point, industrial farming) has upon the environment – all of these are now a large part of many people’s purchasing habits. My guess, without any evidence to support my claim, is that it’s a larger portion of the public doing that than, say, 10 – 15 years ago.

Being engaged in how companies develop their products means that it’s more likely that consumers are going to call bullshit on bullshit practices. The best example of that? The issues surrounding Horizon Milk is the first bit that comes to mind, but I could think of others who have sold out the ideals in the name of big business.

And let’s not forget that even if the organic standards are watered-down, they’re still better than what was in place 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, the organic movement that we’ve come to love and respect has evolved into several other food movements. Organic hasn’t died, it’s simply changed addresses after agri-business moved into the neighborhood.

Weekend food for thought…so to speak.

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