If you haven’t heard, there is a growing movement of people moving back to sustainable living –what some consider to be an old-fashion idea that “progress” has freed us from.
This is not the organic movement, although sustainable agriculture and gardening can be organic. It is more than that!
The term “organic” has been abused and misused to the point where you no longer can trust a company that says its food is organic as being something that is truly good. Many of the big name organic companies are deceiving customers into thinking their product is something it is not. Most of the mainstream organic companies have sold out to the big corporate boys and are nothing but expensive agri-business goods that may or may not even be truly organic and certainly do nothing for sustainable agriculture, the environment or local economies.
A while back, I had an interesting phone conversation with a customer service representative from the well known organic company, Cascadian Farm. I reached a woman with a thick accent probably sitting in a cubical in India. I was calling about a bag of organic broccoli that I had purchased from a store in Tennessee. The package had a nice Washington farm picture with a invitation, “If you have any questions or comments, call us… or come by and see the farm.” Nice, friendly, home-townish! The farm was supposedly located in Washington’s fertile valley and had been around for years. However, the confusion came when I found in small, inconspicuous, black lettering on the back of the package, “product of china” ???
Supposedly from an all-American farm, however, this organic company, like many others has put up a deceiving facade. What lies beneath the fake farm picture is a well-known organic named company run by corporate agri-business giants. I informed the customer service lady that I was sorely disappointed in the product that I had purchased because it was the biggest, misleading piece of advertising fraud that I had ever seen.
She defended the company by saying that because of lack of fertile growing areas, they are forced to go outside the U.S. to the global market to uphold the high standard of quality organic foods that they sell! The broccoli as well as other food products are often shipped in from global markets all around the world, yet she assured me that they pass strict organic standards even if they are shipping in broccoli from China!
Our globalized food economy is a big ugly giant that seems impossible to conquer, however, on the horizon greater interests are being heightened of the dangers of this globalized food economy. More families are researching better ways to gather their food. The concerns aren’t just economic, but are also for health. We have seen over the last year, recall after recall on a variety of different foods. Most recently, news on meat recalls has been hitting the press over the last couple of weeks. One can just imagine the impact of how incredibly vulnerable we immediately become when we consent to become dependent on consuming food from nations like China.
A growing amount of people are concerned and are changing their buying habits to support local markets. CSA’s (community supported agriculture) are growing and thriving as families move to purchasing their produce from local farmers. Many alternatives are springing up: local family farms with You-Pick services or CSA services or direct produce sales as well as farmer’s markets. Many local supermarkets are even making efforts to carry locally grown food. As well, a growing few are becoming aware of the old fashion idea of fresh milk and dairy products. Dairy co-ops and cow shares are springing up in response to this desire to return to real food and sustainable food sources. Still other families are simply choosing to grow their own foods and move towards a more sustainable way of life. A way of life that was once common place, but now is a rarity.
As the big industrial food conglomerates continue to focus on money, all the while destroying the food and land with their un-sustainable industrialism, more people are becoming aware, then concerned and finally purposefully transitioning their food purchasing choices. It isn’t as easy as the 24-hour-grab-and-go supermarket. It takes work and effort, but the rewards are far reaching and widespread.