Buyer Beware, or the Politics of Food

So you thought you were doing good by eating organic? Well, organic has gone mainstream, or rather, the way of agribusiness. So if you selected organic produce or foods for social reasons, buyer beware.

What’s a responsible, socially conscious consumer to do? It is tough when you are pulled in many directions, but it’s hard to feel holy when you realize that most supermarket organic brands like Stonyfield Farm yogurts, Kashi cereals and Naked Juice juices are all owned by big corporations. I have no beef with big companies, it is merely that consumers need to realize that the certified organic seal of approval refers to the methods used to grow or produce the food. It does not refer to the size of the farm, or the type of ownership. Merely because a head of lettuce was grown on an organic farm does not mean that it’s hand-picked from a mom and pop, old time-y farmstead with a big wrap-around porch.  It’s still a good thing for your body, so yes, feel good about that. You are consuming food that is pesticide-free and from a farm that has been regulated as such, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you are supporting the independent farmer. Read the label and inform yourself before making any assumptions, particularly when shopping in the grocery store.

You can read more in this recent article from the NY Times entitled, “Has Organic Been Oversized?”

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