Posted tagged ‘Alderspring Ranch’

The Crisis In Organic Farming

April 6, 2022

I’ve been writing lately on farming for The Progressive magazine. This story appeared in the December 2021/January 2022 issue. (Yep. I’m late in posting it.) It details how the organic industry is overpowering the organic movement, which I argue is bad news for duped consumers and hardpressed family farmers.

The irony is that core problem traces back to the creation of the National Organic Program (under the U.S. Ag department) in 1990. A 12-year battle ensued over what exact criteria had to be satisfied for a farm to be federally certified as organic.

I write:

“Those certification standards—barring the use of pesticides, antibiotics, and other synthetic inputs; requiring pasturing for farm animals; establishing a three-year protocol for converting conventional farmland to organic status; and a lot more—were nothing less than transformative.

“What had been a growing but idiosyncratic and fragmented movement—at least twenty-two states had their own rules for organic labeling—became a single national market with standardized rules. This led foreign farm operations to seek USDA certification so they could sell their goods stateside.

“Organic food sales exploded. By 2011, sales hit $25.1 billion, and by 2020, sales had more than doubled to $56.5 billion. In 2021, the USDA counted more than 28,000 certified organic businesses in the United States. Another 17,000 foreign operations were certified as USDA organic.

“But far from it being the glory days of the organic food movement, this is a time of maximum danger. A perfect storm of problems is challenging organic’s primacy in producing healthy food. And organic food, once a culty and idealistic passion for both farmers and consumers, is increasingly just another cog in the agribusiness behemoth.” 

To read more, please go here.


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