2.27.2008

When the weight of a dollar is greater than the value of the earth



We're entering a new phase of Organics. . . well, at least new to me.
It's bothering me enough that I drew a diagram a couple nights ago to wrap my brain around it a little better. I still didn't get it.

When I stared off on the vegan path in 1995, soy milk was not a common product. I had a choice of soy milk that tasted something like unsweet liquid oat bran and rice milk, that tasted like watered down, unsweet liquid rice bran.
No Tofutti, no veggie dogs at the grocery store. Definitely no garden burgers at Burger King, which aren't vegan anyway, and not vegetarian if you go so far as look at the ingredients in the cheese and ketchup you might get on it. Okay, enough of that.

Back on the subject.

Apparently the "organics industry" is a growing profit-goldmine, soiling up the purest of intentions. Gayla's post is a good example.
Incorporating the "green industry" seems dirty low-down to me, making me feel less progressive and more trendy. Yuck. While I'm all for companies vying for my dollar, at the same time I want to feel good about the company's approach. WalMart, Silk, and others seem to be growing and losing their values on opposite exponential levels.

So I ask you:
When you grab an organic product off the shelf, what are you envisioning? More precisely, what are your intentions for picking an organic product over a non-organic?

How do we rationalize these changes or how do we fight them? Is this why simplifying and local resources are rapidly becoming the "new green"?

Video courtesy of certifiedorganic.bc.ca, TerraCycle and MiracleGro image courtesy of the Daily Princetonian, MiracleGro ad in Gayla Trail's hands courtesy of You Grow Girl.

1 comment:

Gayla said...

About 1.5-2 years ago I was giving a gardening talk to a group of university students. There was another speaker before me, a woman who specializes in studying the organic farming movement. She talked about the grassroots development of the movement and how it stems not just from an ecological method of growing but is also about ethics. It's also been about farmers and workers being paid fairly. And then she spoke about Walmart and other large corporations stepping into the organics sphere. And how organic farming has quickly moved into factory farming... a "style" that is in opposition to the original movement. She painted a picture of the future that was so grim and so against the original intentions of any early adopters that I had to ask for 5 minutes before getting up to speak. It was really depressing.

So in answer to your question, What do I see when I think of organics... I think of my weekly visits to my awesome local farmers market where I know and talk to people, where there is a community and connectedness that has really enriched my life. I originally sought the market looking for good organic food at a good price (no middle man gets paid so the farmer gets more) but I ended up getting more... things I didn't know I was missing. It's not just about valuing the food and the environment but also about value and fairness when it comes to production and the people behind that production. If I want to be paid fairly for the work I do then I also need to place value on the work others do... I can't be chasing a good deal on something as integral to my life as food. Michael Pollan made a statement about food that has really stuck with me... he said that as a culture we spend less of our wages on food than any other culture that has ever existed ever. That says that our priorities are way out of wack.