Industrialized Organic

Is it enough to buy organic?  The more I learn, the more I believe it is about being local, and sustainable.  When possible, I hope to stimulate the local economy, buy from small farms, and in turn know where my food is coming from.  As a consumer it is important to know, and see what your dollars are being spent on. 

It pains me to think that the money I spend on my beloved Kashi® cereal makes it back to Kellog's®.  Or, that my purchase of Muir Glen® tomatoes eventually gets back to General Mills.  It seems that all of the organic brands I have been buying over the years have now been bought up themselves.  Please visit The Cornucopia Institutes post on the subject to see which corporations have swallowed up the companies we thought we are supporting. 

In order to compete with national brands the smaller companies must adopt certain industrialized methods.  But, what price does the environment pay when organic farming is industrialized?  An interesting read can be found in this month's issue of Gourmet.  The article entitled, "Greens of Wrath" explores what happened to farmers post the E. coli in spinach outbreak of 2006.  Some small farmers that sell to Earthbound Farm (I'm sure others as well) have taken extreme measures to ensure that wildlife, and vegetation be stripped from the landscape surrounding their fields, in hopes of ensuring the outbreak doesn't happen again.  The idea of stripping the land of all living things to make a barrier sounds absurd and bizarre.

This is so contrary to what my mind conjures up when I imagine organic crops.  Not to mention that these bags salads, and a big part of organic veggies are all flown from CA.  That is a long way to my local Whole Foods® here in Chicagoland.  Can you imagine all the oil we use to ship "organic" produce across the country?  After cars, the food industry uses the most fossil fuels, and contributes the most to green house gas emissions, according to "Farmer in Chief", by Michael Pollan.  We can attempt to combat this by staying local.  This is an idealistic approach.  I get that.  But, we once operated this way and I think if we can support local commerce when possible we could have a big impact on where our food comes from in the future. 

  • Posted on   11/04/08 at 09:37:36 AM   by Emily  | 
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Reader Comments (1)

Pea eye 03/05/09 02:12:54 PM

Thanks for the heads up about the brands. We shop at stores that we hope will keep us from having to think about this, but it's probably worth checking, in case they haven't kept up with the mergers and acquisitions!

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