Desperate Food Industry Tries to Tar Michael Pollan and Organic Produce
… by Vanessa Barrington … EcoSalon … excerpted … 8-24-09 …
With growing numbers of food-conscious consumers, big corporations are trying to sully the reputation of alternatives to their style of agriculture.
What do you get when you cross a grassroots movement with a food industry fearful of losing its influence? Bogus studies, campaigns of misinformation and opinion pieces filled with myth and vitriol.
You may have noticed an uptick this year in news reporting that organic food isn’t really better for you, opinion pieces by conventional farmers saying that they are tired of being demonized by “agri-intellectuals”, and guilt-inducing ads by Monsanto in highbrow publications like the New Yorker touting the company’s ability to feed the world through technology.
The turning point was when First Lady Michelle Obama planted an organic garden on the White House lawn only to receive a letter from The American CropLife Association (Established in 1933 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., CropLife America is the nation’s largest trade organization for agriculture and pest management. We represent more than 80 developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of virtually all the crop protection products used by American farmers and growers. We are the voice of the industry that ensures the safe and responsible use of pesticides in order to provide a safe, affordable and abundant food supply) telling her that they hoped she recognized the value of conventional agriculture in American life. (and surely we can trust American CropLIfe Assoc)) Then, there were false allegations that the garden was contaminated with lead. In the face of all this, the first lady stuck with her commitment to keeping the garden organic.
Why is this happening now? For many years, organic food was a marginal market and the big players were content to let it either exist on the sidelines or hedge their bets and buy into it themselves.
According to a recent survey, consumers are confused about and skeptical of green marketing claims, and misinformed about terms like natural and organic. That’s exactly how some would like it to be.
But there’s another side to this story: The status-quoers will eventually have to acknowledge that the system as it stands now will not serve anyone’s needs much longer, even theirs. As global warming accelerates and fuel costs rise, we need to figure out how to produce food differently. Maybe consumer power won’t ever be enough to force farmers to start to look at farming differently but the limiting characteristics of our unsustainable system will.
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE . . . As terra-firma begins to shift those seeking to desperately maintaining the “status-quo” are pulling out all stops as they manipulate the means, the methods and who sends the messages “we” receive.
And this manipulation is not limited solely to control over the foods we consume, we see it heard rear as the discussions on proposed single-payer health care are deliberately distorted.
One of the claims made challenging organic farming is the unproven accusation that organic farming methods can not produce the prodigious quantities of food currently raised using copious amounts of petrochemicals. I do not claim expertise in this area, though I would speculate that short term mass conversion to organic farming would most likely adversely affect the quantity of foods produced. This for me is understandable, in that it is unrealistic to expect ground upon which years and years of petrochemicals have been used is not going to overnight become or revert to the soil conditions from which it came.
To expect any other result is frankly – stupid.
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