Back to Basics

Many of you likely read this morning’s Guardian article discussing the profitability of organic produce. This news, coupled with that which was shared by Ethical Consumer this month, their disparaging company profile of U.K.’s most widely recognised ‘health food store’ forces one to wonder if greed rather than pure goodness is driving the health, and especially the organic, food industry. At least the combined result makes me wonder if it is possible to be both successful and ethical? Stepping aside from the present debate over whether or not organic is actually healthier, the fact that people believe it is makes them pay more for it. Is this what drives groceries (and other types of industry such as clothing) to sell organic?  What about those health food stores that have been selling organic before it became the latest fad but are not yet taking over the market with duplicated chains of their shops? The products are often the same and even sell for the same prices. The difference must be in what lies beneath; in how the workers who farm and sell the products are paid and treated. The question now becomes, for whom are we buying organic? And if the answer is for ourselves, our families, our children, then why not for the farmers and the other people in the supply chain? When did buying organic become more important than buying local? Boycotting big industry is great, but only if we make sure the alternative is better.

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