According to figures released by the Organic Trade Association this year , the organic food market increased by 6.4% in 2017, generating $45.2 billion in sales. Despite having a bigger range of foodstuffs than ever, organic food is seen as the moral, environmentally-friendly, and healthier option. But is this accurate; what are we really buying when we choose organic foods?
The swinging 60s wasn’t just a time of social change, big hair, and miniskirts – it also prompted the organic food revolution. Dip into Jeffrey Pilcher’s Food Production to learn how young people, disenfranchised with capitalism, copied peasant communities and took to the fields and started communal farming groups. A handful of the successful farms provided the basis for the modern organic food industry but, as the industry grew, it faced some of the same controversies as commercial farming, including the exploitation of migrant workers.
In a time of global imports, when animals are fed antibiotics, and plants and crops are treated and sprayed with chemicals to stimulate growth, many choose organic food as the healthier option. Free from chemicals supposedly the strawberries are sweeter, the potatoes are heartier, and the beef is leaner. Explore Handling Food-related Risks to investigate a case study of why Danish people buy organic produce. Is the appeal of organic really in the taste or are we being neurotic about food safety?
“Natural”, “pure”, “fresh”, are just some of the words that dominate food advertising for organic produce. Some consumers buy organic produce because they believe organic agriculture means fairer working conditions for labourers, supporting local farms, and reducing their carbon footprint. In Food Words read Richard Milne’s chapter on labelling to see how organic packaging incorporates a promise of social and environmental change.
Organic food developed as part of an environmental and social movement towards ethical consumption, however today the organic market is often owned by corporate giants and extreme competition in the industry has led to intense scrutiny with producers eager to out their competitors for bogus advertising. Does this culture reflect the intentions and ethics behind organic food? Read on with Peter Jackson to find out.
In Food Activism and Antimafia Cooperatives in Contemporary Sicily see how Pippo, a cooperative vineyard worker thinks his own, non-organic, home-grown and home-brewed wine is far superior to the organic wine of the cooperatives. Advertising claimed the co-op’s organic wine was “the taste of Sicily” while being pure and ethical. Yet, many local workers viewed Pippo’s traditional method as being more authentic than the co-op’s mass-produced, commercialised varieties. Perhaps a taste-test is in order…