Food Media

What does the word "organic" mean to you?


Food Media

What does the word "organic" mean to you?

thinks too much | | Jul 18, 2012 09:17 AM

If your response immediately includes the words "silly," "neurotic" or "excuse to be overpriced" please go on to another thread. I am looking for thoughtful responses that are not immediately hostile to the concept of organic.

I read a NY Times article about the politics of what ingredients can be included into foodstuffs and still maintain the label "organic."

So I post to the people who buy organic, or those who would like to buy it if it were more affordable or more available in their area. What does the term mean to you? What do you see as the goal of "organic food?"

Personally, I believe that it espouses a method of growing food that is not dependent on vast amounts of herbicides, pesticides, or chemical-derived fertilizers to ensure continued fertility of the land.

Within meat, it should imply that the meat is grown without hormones or preventative antibiotics, two practices that have evolved as a result of large scale agriculture. I don't think vegetarian eggs are better, since chickens are designed to grub for worms and bugs as part of their diet. On the other hand, I don't think they should be eating food comprised of slaughterhouse meal.

I think mono-cultures tend to foster inherent problems in food production. Greater efficiency also breeds greater ruthlessness in dealing with problems. Perhaps my Pollyanna viewpoint is a holdover from children's books, but I can't help thinking that on a smaller scale farm, cow manure is a fertilizer. On CAFOs, (concentrated animal feeding operations) it is a pollutant.

What are your thoughts? Do you accept the organic label as a be all and end all? Do you think that it is better than nothing? Do you think that the system all went wrong somewhere? I lean towards the latter two.

Disclaimer: I am no expert. I am also no farmer. I favor farmers markets conventional over supermarket organic. If I talk to a farmer about their production methods, I will trust them when they say that they use no pesticides, but don't bother with expensive certification more than I trust that someone with an organic label has been vetted thoroughly and conscientiously by the government on an appropriate basis. I buy "happy meat" when I can afford it, but still sometimes buy supermarket meat too.

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