Real Sustainable Food

It seems that most people agreed with much of what I said in my last post, but many rejected the term “Anti-Organic.”  Let me be clear that, while the organic label can be affixed to local, humanely raised, seasonal, fresh, whole food, it can also be slapped onto food that is quite the opposite.

But the reason I’d really describe myself as “Anti-Organic” is because we shouldn’t have to have that label at all.  There shouldn’t be a dichotomy of “organic” food and “conventional” food.  Instead of looking for labels, how about we, as consumers, demand the following:

  • Produce all food using a minimum of chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics and hormones.
  • Produce all food using methods that are least detrimental to the soil, water, air, and surrounding ecosystems.
  • Ban the use of known and suspected carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens.
  • Ban genetically modified crops and cloned animals.
  • Source all foods as locally as possible.
  • Eliminate packaging as much as possible.
  • Treat all animals humanely and feed them the diet they evolved to eat.
  • All farm workers have a right to a fair wage and working conditions.
  • All consumers have the right to meet farmers and visit farms.

Now, that may sound idealistic, or unrealistic.  But it’s not.  Look at how demand for organic foods has grown, how synthetic hormones have been taken out of most dairy products, how the local foods movement has flourished.  Look at how victory gardens are making a comeback and people are reducing the amount of meat in their diets.  We’re on the right track, but accepting the organic label is not sufficient.  We need to demand that all food be produced sustainably, and all people have access to sustainably produced food.

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14 Comments

Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

14 Responses to Real Sustainable Food

  1. Here’s my take on the Certified Organic labeling process: it’s the government putting a bit of weight on the consumers’ side of the scale.

    It’s not perfect, not by a long shot. There are certainly “organic” producers who follow the standards’ letter rather than their spirit–and some of them get away with not even following the letter.

    But I think that having organic standards gave people a way to begin opting in to a better way of shopping and eating. They gave the sustainable food movement some added momentum. They made it possible for us to be where we are now: a place where we can begin to imagine a food system where where all our food is sustainable and safe.

  2. These are great goals. However, we have to fight some pretty big guys… Monsanto for one. Here in Ohio, Monsanto has sued and won to not allow milk to be labeled rbgh free. They don’t want us to know what is in there. I do agree there is momentum in the movement to sustainability in our food chain.

  3. I believe Monsanto produces the rHBG. And if they get their way, very soon they will be releasing their GE alfalfa – and then there will be no such thing as truly “organic” meat anymore.

  4. Man, Monsanto is scary. I didn’t know they were into milk either. I agree with you. All food should be natural and “organic” then we wouldn’t have to worry about all the rest- labeling included.

  5. I like where this idea is going. I know my husband would be in full agreement with you; I find myself being guilty of jumping on a bandwagon of what “they” say is good for you . . . and then not necessarily fully understanding or being educated to know what a term means and how it gets tossed around.

    Anyway, I’d like to hear more on this one . . .

  6. I agree with you. And I am heartened to see this movement growing. Hopefully, it will continue to do so. And as it does, I believe that producers will follow suit.

    I can’t imagine that the current system is really working for many farmers. If it’s not working for them, and it’s not working for us, then the time is long past for a change.

  7. Hear hear! I was cheering for your last post, and I still wholeheartedly agree.

    But I think we’re in for a looooooooooooooooong run — this country protects corporations, not people, and the food industry is nothing if not large corporations.

  8. I agree with every point you made. As a crop farmer it infuriates me that we have almost no options for seed except to purchase from Monsanto. They have certainly played their cards right by convincing the farmers to like their product. If only other farmers would wake up to what’s really happening then Monsanto wouldn’t have a chance.
    I wish I knew the words and the way to help bridge the gap between what people like us think and what so many farmers think.

  9. Grass roots movements can change the world and topple even the biggest, baddest, and scariest of corporations. All it takes is neighbor helping neighbor, one person, one family, and one community at a time.

  10. I wanted to follow up to let you know that my town is offering a course about eating local foods in a way that they are terming, the “new organic.” What are your thoughts on such a term for eating in a local way? Does it make sense to mix the term “organic” in there?

    • I constructed an answer to this in my head in the middle of the night… let’s see if I can replicate it. Are they just using “new organic” to equal “local”? Because I think that’s misleading. Unless, they’re talking about a “beyond organic” type of description, I don’t think it makes sense.

  11. What a great way to put it. I just always tell people “I eat organically” because it’s easier than- “I eat sustainable, truly natural food that is free of pesticides and toxic chemicals, cook from scratch, eat humanly raised meat and as local as possible.” haha

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