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WalMart Enters the Organic Market

That sounds like a wonderful step toward responsibility on the part of a usually hamfisted, bigger-hammer corporate grocer. But is it?

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, explains this is not exactly the case. The catch is really in the economics. To price organic food so cheaply, asserts Pollan...

"...would virtually guarantee that Wal-Mart's version of cheap organic food is not sustainable, at least not in any meaningful sense of that word. To index the price of organic to the price of conventional is to give up, right from the start, on the idea...that food should be priced not high or low but responsibly. As the organic movement has long maintained, cheap industrial food is cheap only because the real costs of producing it are not reflected in the price at the checkout. Rather, those costs are charged to the environment... To say you can sell organic food for 10 percent more than you sell irresponsibly priced food suggests that you don't really get it."
Read the synopsis first at Bootstrap Analysis from which the Polan quote was snagged, then plunge into the referenced sources. This is not a small or trivial issue. At least be aware of it when you shop.


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