Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 6:52:45 AM, you posted:
An excellent observation regarding the current status quo in the US
food industry and related industries (i.e. ag education, ag and
nutritional research, food distribution & the production of ag
inputs), to which I will add a few comments (which also answer Byron's
RN> Grace wrote:
>>It is still a damn shame to have to accept that what consumers want
>>in this case is at odds with scientific (or philosophic)
>>defensibility. Once upon a time we thought we could have both.
1).- "What consumers want" is shaped by both marketing
2).- The last word on "scientific (or philosophic) defensibility" is
far far in. On the contrary, the major problem is one of criteria &
priorities for funding research, which retards that.
3).- "Once upon a time we thought we could have both."
Unsubstantiated remark, starting with "we".
RN> The American consumer is sensible enough to know that
RN> industrialized agriculture has produced quantity and sacrificed
Industrialized agriculture has produced *availability* above all, for
those who adhere, by virtue of a lack of alternatives and / or by
having been "cultivated (bred) for it by the currently dominant
interests of the US (and to a lesser degree, world) economic system,
which *does* foment mediocrity and homogenization - also many
And one should not confuse the interests with the system, which itself
can be modified, according to the criteria agreed upon. "Interests"
covers ALL interests, whatever their value or the value put on them by
RN> Anyone who thinks the average American diet based on
RN> processed food, fast food and the like is remotely "healthy" just
RN> because modern food science refuses to really address the issues
RN> is involved in a colossal self-delusion.
Nobody thinks that. Some (mercenaries) only give lip service to it.
RN> Consumers are concerned with the environmental effects of agriculture as
RN> well as the health effects. They buy organics becasue they believe most
RN> organic farmers are struggling to build an alternative, healthy agriculture
RN> and they want to support them. This is no "science' that contradicts them,
RN> although of course the "solid science" in the service of the food industry
RN> a la Avery uses millions of dollars to create smoke screens.
I'm glad you put "solid science" in quotes. Once again, the word is
not "solid" but rather "subsidized".
RN> Organic agriculture is the agriculture of the future.
Eventually all agriculture will be sustainable, ecological, biosphere
friendly (and respectful) etc. and the word organic (as a market) will
have been forgotten, having served it's purpose.
RN> Academics have just never been able to swallow that; as the
RN> organic commerce grew to over 5 billion dollars they continue to
RN> huff and grump and say there's 'no scientific evidence'. Only on
RN> this list, at the ag colleges and at the Hudson Institute et al do
RN> you find this attitude.
I consider that to be somewhat unfair (except in reference to "the
Hudson Institute"). The problem is the greater availability of funding
for the more easily marketable products that result from (and direct)
the research funded by manufacturers of those products. This in itself
is part of the bits and pieces approach - both scientifically (all
trees, no forest) and morally (a "me first and last" mentality).
Remember that not that long ago the science of ecology (one that
united many other then discrete "sciences", did not exist. (And the
same lines of reasoning were heard then also).
The composition of sanet has changed as we find more people posting who
are getting paid for the time they take to do so, and fewer farmers
who *have* the time.
RN> If 'science' can't or won't show the differences between responsible
RN> organic agriculture and factory farming then it's science that's off base,
RN> simply refusing to look at the issues.
I wouldn't indict science. There's a lot of good (as well as not so
good) research being done out there. We just need more of it, to
produce a better center of gravity and accelerate the change of
balance now occurring anyway (despite all the hype and bald faced,
mean lies to the contrary).
I'll be on the road and offline for a while.
Douglas Hinds. - CeDeCoR, A.C.
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, Asociacion Civil
(Center for Rural and Community Development,
a Mexican non-profit organization)
Cordoba, Veracruz; Cd. Guzman, Jalisco; Loma Bonita, Oaxaca
& Reynosa, Tamaulipas Mexico
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