Friday, April 27, 2018

Is Certified Organic a False Messiah?

I recently saw the film "The Evolution of Organic." The film provides a rather biased, feel-good collage of the hippy roots and the positive(?) industrial takeover of all things "organic" and "bio" in producing and marketing food.  At its heart Big Organic wants the consumer to feel "organic" food is the long-term solution to sustainable human food production. Do these organic line items justify that conclusion?

  • Eliminate synthetic chemicals in agricultural practices
  • Ban human waste without caveat in organic agriculture
  • Sustain animal captivity industries to produce animal waste fertilizers
  • Increase plant waste composting to build healthy soil
  • Increase video coverage of farm owners sniffing and kissing soil 
  • Connect the farm worker more closely to the Earth and its ecosystems
  • Provide no standards for fair compensation nor safe working conditions 
  • Mitigate climate change with limited soil carbon sequestration practices
  • Continue worldwide inhumane animal methane gas production globally
  • Support small farm and family based agriculture when convenient
  • Consolidate family farms into profitable agri-conglomerates
  • Increase the availability of nutritious, toxin-free food, plant and animal
  • Increase the consumer cost of nutritious, toxin-free food, plant and animal
  • Discourage pasteurization practices which make many foods safer
  • Eliminate irradiation practices which make many foods safer
  • Continue mass animal incarceration practices to produce humane(?) eggs and dairy
  • Continue humane(?) mass animal slaughter practices when alternatives exist
  • Eliminate genetically modified crops that use modern DNA splicing techniques
  • Use genetically modified crops that used radioactive mutation hybridization
  • Create large profits from consumers who fear anything gmo or "non-organic"

This list is admittedly a muddle.  As a rational vegan, I remain skeptical as to whether food labeled "certified organic" is a development that benefits the consumer and planet more than it does the agriculture industry. At best organic labeling as it stands is a fair first attempt.

I would rather see an approach that pursues a "Humanely Sustainable" certification. Food for human consumption should be as safe, environmentally friendly, animal-abuse free, nutritious, fair wage supporting, and delicious as possible. To this challenging ends, government subsidies could focus on supporting the attainment of these parameters rather than giving billions in handouts to established agri-industries like sugar corporations, cattle ranches and other agribusinesses which pursue amoral profits alone.

The organic movement has its heart in the right place, but we as a species must leverage mindful standards to better implement greener and kinder food production on this Earth.

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