Revolution is Afoot for Organic Farms and Food



“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” - Confucius

Thanks to the convenience of the Internet, I got to watch Dave Chapman’s riveting 45-minute talk on organic farms and food. He spoke on the topic with restrained passion earlier this month at a symposium held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. A few days later sitting at my computer in New Mexico, I heard his message loud and clear. It matched what I know from my own observations, and he added depth of understanding: there is revolution afoot in the realm of organic farms and food.

The foods being labeled and sold as organic in America are under enormous pressure in the marketplace. Chapman, associate director of The Real Organic Project (ROP), said that people have discovered that there can be a lot of money in organics. By now it’s a $50 billion industry. “We are cursed by our own success,” Chapman commented. “The money is like blood in the water.”

As with many other sectors of the economy, independent farming (organic and otherwise) is under continuing, crushing corporate pressure (Food Giants Swallow Family Farms). This form of economic imperialism is continuing to hollow out innumerable communities the Heartland, relentlessly overwhelming human-scale farms with low-paying, industrial operations.

Over the last few years as the scent of vertically-integrated profit wafted over the land, there unfolded a takeover at the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). Corporate interests gained a stronger voice than the farmers who, over decades, established the just reputation of organic farms and foods as demonstrably superior for land, animals, and human beings.

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