A post over at the Eat Local Challenge blog pointed out a couple of articles from the SF Chronicle and the NY Times discussing the evolving importance of the term “organic” as it relates to our food suppliers. I couldn’t let my comments go without inclusion here.
The real benficiaries of the evolution away from the organic stamp of approval will be those consumers who participate in the new relationships that food producers will be offering to them. By dropping the organic label, farmers are just begging for dialogs with their customers that will help evolve the traditional “organic” food supply chain. I hope that we as consumers will be open to this shift and realize the many benefits of being more knowledgable about the who and the how of our food.
At our State Farmers Market here in NC, there is very rarely a sign indicating that a product is organic. However, several meat producers detail their antibiotics/hormones credo on their price board. If you talk to them, they are more than happy to discuss the nature of their pastures and their feeding practices. If you take a moment to talk to the farmer you are buying your veggies from, they are usually more than happy to discuss their growing methods with you. Heck, you can even go visit the farms yourself during certain times of the year.
Knoll Farms (as described in the article) has taken a big local step in encouraging consumers to educate themselves on the growing practices that are important to them, come up with their own standards, and then decide for themselves if their food producers are up to *THEIR* standard of “organic,” not the government’s.