Hello Supporters of Food Justice,
We commercialized the organic farming movement in the 1980s in order to provide an alternative to consumers who were hungry for food produced to a different standard and as an economic-justice vehicle to empower family-scale farmers who were being hemorrhaged off the land.
Dr. John Ikerd, a preeminent agricultural economist and professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, will tell us that most regulatory schemes, once hijacked through regulatory capture, end up favoring the largest industrial players. Sadly, organics has a proven the model.
The expertly researched and well-crafted New Yorker story below, The Great Organic Food Fraud, is another blackeye, courtesy of decades of lip service and cheerleading by the industry’s largest lobby group, the Organic Trade Association, and subsequent administrations running the USDA.
I sadly knew it was coming because the reporter had called to talk to me since I had worked a bit with the Justice Department on this case.
It’s especially sad because this came down right after a lot of work was done trying to steer companies away from buying untrustworthy imported commodities and promoting domestic production. Unless and until there’s a change in attitude at the USDA, there is no safe haven.
We need to convince President Biden and USDA Secretary Vilsack to do a 180° and recognize the voice of civil society groups that have monitored the organic regulations for decades, instead of listening to lobbyists representing corporate agribusiness. You can make your voice heard by signing this proxy letter and mailing it back to us (please feel free to share and emphasize that no donation is necessary): https://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/839.b86.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/8.5-x-11-Proxy-letter-bw-2.pdf
Why are we still fighting? Because other than local, direct marketers, there’s no viable alternative to a creditable organic program for farmers and eaters alike.