Organic Ordinance

Knowing about organic, free range, etc foods doesn’t convince me to buy it at the supermarket.

There, I’ve gone out and said it. I know the research, of course. I admit, there is definite benefit in not ingesting hormones designed to pump up chicken breasts twice their size in half the time. We should also reduce our antibody usage so we don’t breed any Robin Cook nightmare superbugs. I don’t have beef with the concept; it’s a healthy direction for everybody.

The problem is, I’ve been eating this way since I was 2.

See, I was born in Hong Kong. Having chickens running underfoot and skinning our fish a mile from where it was caught was the norm. People would go out of their way to visit the small plots of land filled with perfectly organic produce, and pay to have the experience of eating something right at the source. Even in America, I’ve been brought up to seek lobster rolls in Boston and Maine, crabcakes in Maryland, and gators in Florida (still on my bucket list).

My beef with today’s organic culture is, it’s half a scam. There’s not much difference in how agricultural giants like Monsanto make food- they simply take out the processes designed to make meats cheaper, or corn more plentiful. Chickens are still raised in cramped spaces, cows are still plugged into machines, and calves are still destined to become veal chops. Sure, they do half a decent job giving milk the semblance of grassfed flavor, but compared with the real thing? It’s not worth the trouble.

Honestly, from everything I’ve seen, these prepackaged organic foods fall into the trap of the economist’s wet dream. There’s no reason they should exist, except to provide a product that hasn’t existed before. It’s a slightly higher-priced commodity with little difference from products labeled “natural.” Organic foods are another in a long string of products designed to feed a society that needs growth to survive, that can’t work the numbers without something constantly filling a need. I’m not on board with that, not when I can drive out to upstate New York or visit a Farmer’s Market and have apples straight off centuries-old land, pumpkins fed with nothing but sunshine, and cheese every bit as good as their old world counterparts. It’s the fruit of the land, baby.

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