At 09:09 AM 27/03/00 -0600, Wilson, Dale wrote:
>> I think you attitude is unrealistic, Steve. With industry
>> aggressively pedalling their version of 'organic' nobody is
>> going to hear you talking about "locally grown and sustainable".
>> People will ask you, "but is it organic?" and they will want hear
>> a yes or no answer. You can bet that "micro-farming", or even
>> "sustainable" will never be significant food product labels
>> nor have any meaning for consumers.
>IMO you are confounding a marketing strategy with what is good for the
>Earth. "Organic" food is a market niche that Steve doesn't really need to
>exploit. He turns out good "conventional" produce in an ecologically
>responsible way by good management. He doesn't need the higher price a
>special label would fetch.
But what will motivate the the conventional grower to produce in an
ecologically responsible way if he can continue to externalize
environmental costs as he does now? I've never heard a farmer say he
doesn't need higher prices for his crops! Organics is not only a 'market
niche' (getting pretty wide to be called a "niche") it is also a
(certified) committment to the consumer to farm in an ecologically
responsible and healthy way. We all know it is far from perfect. The
question is whether to "go beyond" and forget what organics has come to
mean for the public (go beyond to what?) or stay with that market and
label, and that farming system, and defend and deepen the ecologically
responsible meaning that the label has come to have. I believe the latter
is the only viable strategy.
Organic farmers have already had a positive impact on farming in general.
Conventional farming *is* becoming more responsible, as you point out, in
part because organic farmers alerted the public that there was an
alternative and that we ought to pursue it. The power of those consumers
to continue forcing positive changes in agriculture is only growing--which
is why it is being contested by those who stand to benefit from resisting
or diverting that change. I say its the only real game in town for having
a real impact on the way the world farms. "Other things" may well be going
on elsewhere as Douglas says, and they may be important, but they do not
stand to have 1/10 the impact the organic system could have over next
couple of decades. That's why I believe our energies should be going into
improving organics rather than just dropping it. And improving organics
may well involve shooting down OPFA in court...it may well, indeed.
Mexico, D.F. & San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
Tel. y FAX 525-666-73-66 (DF)
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