“When I think about organic farming I think family farm, I think small scale, I think hedgegrowers and compost piles and battered pickups –the old agrarian idea” (138 Pollan).
I find Pollan’s disillusionment just as rude-awakening as his own. I’ve come into adulthood believing that the label “Organic” was finally my one stop shop to understanding that my food was humanely made & chemical free. Perhaps the chemical-free part is somewhat on target, but humanely made seems to be out of the question for some Industrial Organic Farms. With big-business creeping into a growing market of consumers who want healthy, organic food, one can only hope for the best while preparing for the worst. It seems instead of big-business going organic, organic has gone big-business by adapting practices such as the piling thousands of Rosie named chickens together in a ‘free-range’ atmosphere that makes the organic farm look like “any other industrial farm in California” (158 Pollan).
Source: Organic -is it really worth it?
The term ‘Industrial Organic’ sounds like an oxymoron in the first place. In the movie, Food Inc, farmer Joel Salatin touched on the fact that the bigger a farm is (organic or not), the more pollution, fossil fuels, and completely ecologically costly it is to run it. Therefore, he wished to stay small. He addressed the fact that when one chooses to go the big-business route, one begins to view one’s customers, self, and animals differently. This all makes an argument of: how much better is organic than regular ole food in the first place, or more importantly, how much less guilt is one truly entitled to when enjoying a trip to Whole Foods over a place like Shop-N-Save? Pollan writes “Polyface Farm is technically not an organic farm, though by any standard it is more ‘sustainable’ than virtually any organic farm” (131 Pollan). So the question then becomes what exactly denotes truly organic food? Is it chemical free? Humanely made? Sustainable in terms of the environment? I feel it’s a mixture of all three, yet this is followed by the bigger question:
Can such food be profitable?
In my opinion: I don’t care.
I just want my food safe, farmer/worker friendly, and humanely prepped, but big corporations do care, thus the disconnection happens right there.
They just want their profit.
So how do we mend this disconnect? I think Pollan and Salatin both have the right idea. Instead of continually coming up with solutions to fix a problem in the system (you know it’s bad when we’ve put ammonia in the food), it’s important to analyze and fix the whole system, perhaps taking a step backward even –no new solutions for once. We should take advice from the very thing corporations are trying to bend to their will: nature. Perhaps instead of using the system to fix nature, we need to let nature fix the system. I think the best metaphor for this is the cows’ stomachs. All it takes to wipe out all the E-coli infections it’s contracted because of our insistent bending of its natural will is a few days of its original diet: some grass. That’s true organic farming.
Source: Image © EatLuv. Quote from: Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma. NY: Penguin Group, 2006. Print.