July 30, 2003

Organic Coca-Cola?

It seemed like a great idea, says Michael Pollan in this Orion article. "But once we had an official federal organic standard, small farmers lost control of the niche".

He is discussing the lamentable gap between the intention and the reality of the current word "organic". As he describes...

"There were three legs to the original organic dream. One was growing food in harmony with nature -- a non-industrial way of farming that treated animals humanely and did not use chemical pesticides. The second leg was that our system of food distribution should be different; food co-ops, farmer's markets, and community supported agriculture could replace the national agricultural system. And the third leg was the food itself. We shouldn't be eating red delicious apples; we should be eating ten different kinds of apples because biodiversity in the apple tart means biodiversity in the orchard".

Via the loopholes of language and bureaucracy, we now have such irrational choices as "an organic transcontinental strawberry: 5 calories of food energy that use 435 calories of fossil-fuel energy to get to a supermarket near you. This is organic food forced through the industrial system, shorn of its holism. What has been lost is that one key insight about organic: that everything is connected. The organic dream has been reduced to a farming method".

A way we can circumvent this good idea gone bad and strike a blow against the increasingly unwholesome and un-holistic agri-business way of doing things: buy food grown locally, shorten the food chain, and retain the good parts of the organic concept.

Posted by fred1st at July 30, 2003 06:07 AM | TrackBack

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