Monday, May 04, 2009

Organic Explosion!

No, I'm not referring to some horrible carbon-based conflagration. (Though, come to think of it, they all are carbon-based.)

Instead, I'm referring to this interesting entry by Tristero over at Digby's place:

It's true: These days, "organic" hardly means what most of used to think it meant. And yes, "organic" doesn't take into account, for example, the environmental impact of shipping produce a gazillion miles. And the class/cost issues: let's not go there right now but let's also not forget these are real issues and they are profoundly complex and troubling.

Still, the above chart, which is part of a fascinating graphic accompanying this article points to an amazingly rapid surge of interest among a large group of Americans in eating food grown quite differently than the stuff industrial agriculture provides. Good.

Now, if more of us continue to insist on eating what Michael Pollan calls "food" instead of "food-like substances," and if more of us insist that that food be produced in a sensible fashion, you can bet your bippy there will be a backlash funded by the Smithfield Foods of this country And it will be cast as a culture war, between the" elite foodies" and real Americans - windsurfing versus red-blooded hunting redux. Remember the arugula wars? It's gonna get nasty.

So let me be clear. I see absolutely no reason why the US government should be in the business of encouraging your children to eat in a way that drastically increases their chances of becoming diabetic and obese. But, via an entirely whack food policy that's written in the best interests of big industrial food suppliers, that is exactly what is going on.
I like that term "food-like substances." Apt description of a lot of what's out there.

I also like this move to organics. I think it'll drop a fair bit, since organics really are more expensive than "regular" food a lot of the time. The precedent is still set, however, as demonstrated by the spectacle of spokespeople for Heinz talking about "reducing additives" and the public desire for "authentic foods." Organics aren't going anywhere.

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