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corporate dominance

Is anything really "organic" anymore?

Are organic brands really organic?
This will probably seem like a frivolous post. However, I think it's important to know where one's food comes from. I'm sure as hell wondering what the deal is with the stuff I bring home from the store.

I recently purchased some Santa Cruz Organic chocolate sauce at the local health food store. When the container was nearly empty I turned it over to squeeze the last of the contents out and saw "Smuckers" stamped on the bottom of the bottle. WTF???

"Organic" 25.Aug.2006 08:35

Matilda

Actually, that's a very good question. One answer, which I enjoyed reading very much, can be found in the pages of Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilema." This book does a very good job of explaining the rise of industrial "organic," and the difference between what the word "organic" was supposed to mean, and what it means now that it has been turned into a corporate marketing gimmick. Pollan doesn't pass judgement, which I would like for him to do. But he spells out very clearly where your food is really coming from as compared to where you think it is coming from.

I would suggest buying real organic food from the farmers themselves, either at a local farmer's market where you can talk to them about their farming practices, or else go out to the farms and buy from their roadside stands. I would also suggest NEVER buying so-called "convenience food" that calls itself organic, because it is not. Any food-in-a-box that is full of additives and is processed to death is not made in the spirit of organic, and is not healthy, no matter how many comforting words nd pretty pictures appear on the box.

Real organic should be grown in a sustainable manner. Organic was never meant to just mean grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, although that is a given prerequisite. It also means growing in a manner that respects the earth, that learns from nature, that does not truck in vast quantities of resources from elsewhere. It means providing the fruits of your garden locally, to your friends and neighbors, and not trucking it thousands of miles away over petrolium-soaked highways. It means growing crops in diversity, allowing nature to teach the plants how to get along, and feeding and nurturing the soil. It means not trying to take more out of a patch of earth than is sustainable. It means a healthy, whole cuisine of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables rather than an overly-processed, cheap-ass, "convenient" fast food diet stored in plastic and cardboard and metal. It means respecting the people who grow the food, and the people who will eat it even more than the profits you expect to make. It means respecting the plants, animals, and microorganisms that live together in the complex ecosystem of one's garden and trusting them to help you bring forth a good, healthy harvest.

That's what organic is supposed to mean. But that's not what the marketing giant Whole Foods means by it. They just mean a trendy lie that will bring in yuppy dollars. Even "local" produce at Whole Foods came from corporate agriculture, and even if it came from across the street, they trucked it all thousands of miles to a huge warehouse somewhere in the Midwest before trucking it back again to the shelves of your local outlet. They buy from places like Cascadia Farms and Horizon, which have embraced the "organic" label with a vengeance that kills. Literally. Horizon is as cruel and unnatural as any corporate-ag feedlot or factory farm. They don't tell you that on the pretty little cartons of milk where smiling cows are shown on green pastures that their real counterparts will never see. And Cascadian Farms might have started out right, but they sold out years ago, and now work for General Mills. They hold thousands upon thousands of acres of farmland, which might meet the letter of the business-sponsored "organic" certification, but they certainly do not meet the spirit in which the word was originally intended.

Michael Pollan talks about a form of storytelling that he calls the pastoral narrative. It's a story told on the Horizon cartons, and on packages of so-called "free range" eggs, and all through the trendy new organic supermarket. It's smiling cows, and little grannies standing at stoves, and brightly colored fruits dangling from branches over Eden. That's what we are told at Whole Foods, and what we tell ourselves. But in the world of Industrial Organic, it is a world that no longer exists. We feel good about buying something that we believe came from the verdant pasture we carry in our collective dreams. We do not want to face the fact that it probably came from some corporate monoculture, or from a factory farm as cruel as any other.

Yeh, if you really want Organic, don't worry about certification. Go to the farms, the farmer's market, or the local food co-op. And ask questions. Go out to the source and see how your food is produced. Better yet, grow you own.

70% organic 25.Aug.2006 14:43

druged and confused?

some person smarter than me, more conniving, please explain that to me---"70% organic" which is a line I see on more and more items in the corporate food dispensaries.

Will the 70% compensate for, or protect me from the other 30%

Yes, Mexican tar, 70% organic contents, 30% residue from the lab....good as mothers milk...

Another thread is relayed by an attendant at a recenct organicfood convention down in S..F. the correspondent was taken by the fact that attendees were overwhelmingly not using the shuttlebusses from (various) hotels to convention center, choosing, instead to drive themselves or hire a cab. Newbies to the movement we were to be assured, with a bit of "hope they eventually get it!"

Meanwhile remember its increasingly risky to say organoic, untreated, no additives....it looks bad for inorganic, treated and dilluted "food."

And go read what "free range" chickenhood is REALLY like....

Words/Queen of Hearts....its all true

Happy postmodern existence, y'all.

Another thing... 26.Aug.2006 08:07

k

This is probably in line with what druged and confused has to say, and I noticed a long time a ago, that when you look at a bottle of say, maple syrup, there's tons more ingredients in it than say, organic or unadulterated maple syrup. The organic maple syrup costs more but it seems like it should be the other way round. You should have to pay for all of those "extra" ingredients!

When I was a teenager I had a sort of awakening about food and decided that it only made sense to consume organic produce and whatever. It's ended up costing me a fortune, mostly for nothing. I was just another victim of marketing.

It's best to save one's pennies and go to a "regular" store for staples and grow your own or get veggies, fruit, meat locally, from trusted sources.

I just so feel so angry and frustrated by the corporate takeover of an idea that was so inherently good...

private organic label 28.Aug.2006 15:47

world (100 km diameter) health organization

I saw another link on this site talking about a private organic label. Do not know what happened to that discussion or that idea.