Is the Organic Food Industry a Scam?

By Mischa Popoff

Imagine buying a car that was manufactured and assembled by a blacksmith. Just another way to build a car, right? Give me a break!

I’m a big supporter of genuine organic food, but the goal of the green movement is no longer to provide purer, more nutritious food; it’s to promote social and environmental justice at the cost of providing food less efficiently.

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Even if this scheme does not fully succeed, it’s going to cost you dearly. Your taxes already subsidize all sorts of “green,” “organic” schemes. Millions of dollars are funneled into organic “science” which is just so much marketing hype. Economic and scientific considerations are considered passé by organic activists, and no cost is too high as long as it is borne by the taxpayer.

Van Jones -- President Obama’s former “Green Jobs Czar” -- said in 2009, “There is a green wave coming, with renewable energy, organic agriculture, cleaner production.” And then, in a shameless sleight of hand he asks, “Will the green wave lift all boats?...Will we have eco-equity, or will we have eco-apartheid? Right now we have eco-apartheid!”

Is this guy serious? You bet he is. Even after Obama was forced to fire him, the Van Jonesian manifesto survived on the urban side of the highly bureaucratic, fully-politicized certified-organic food industry.

To make matters worse, consider that it takes energy to produce food. Lots of energy. But rather than encourage the development of more affordable energy sources, Obama’s Secretary of Energy Steven Chu warns that, due to the alleged “perils” of global warming, “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.”

Now, is this guy serious? Yup. Even if Chu is exaggerating, imagine how just a 20 percent reduction in productivity in California would impact the cost of fresh vegetables. Depending on where you live it could mean having no vegetables in your refrigerator except when they’re available locally for a couple months of the year.

Such progressive thinking, in lock-step with plans to drive up energy costs through the subsidization of abysmally inefficient energy sources like wind, solar and ethanol, has already caused food prices to nudge upward. Implementing more of these policies would most definitely cause food prices to soar. Fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engines have replaced most of the human and all of the animal toil on farms, and thankfully so! But organic activists like Jones and Chu are already pulling the levers of power to take us back to the good old days. Feeling “green” yet?

Between 1974 and 2005, food prices on world markets fell steadily by 75 percent (adjusted for inflation). This was the direct result of reduced energy costs and increased mechanization on farms in conjunction with better crop varieties that produce more food per-gallon-of-fuel on a smaller piece of land. In North America, we spend less than 7 percent of our incomes on food. Europeans meanwhile still spend almost twice that because they are less technologically advanced and cling to progressive issues of social and environmental justice that make no difference whatsoever to the quality, purity or nutritional content of the food their farmers produce.

All that’s required to become certified organic under the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program is the filling out of reams of forms and the payment of fees. No field testing and no surprise inspections are required, so there’s no way to know which organic farmers are genuinely organic. Instead of driving excellence, organic farmers are simply encouraged to use less efficient methods such as old seed varieties that under-produce and which aren’t disease-resistant, as well as to replace their tractors with horses. Still feeling “green”?

To add insult to injury, some of the millions of dollars your government gives to farmers to help them convert their land to organic production winds up in the coffers of urban activists, thanks to exorbitant certification and royalty fees which go toward “administrative” costs. This allows urban organic activists to underwrite political campaigns and to launch lawsuits against crop-science companies, thereby blunting the overall efficiency of modern food production.

One of the major beneficiaries of this tax-funded, green largesse is none other than progressive billionaire George Soros, a key supporter of the slow, old-fashioned, organic food movement. Soros is also (not coincidentally) a supporter and driver of skyrocketing energy costs driven by the government subsidization of inefficient energy production, as well as organic farm subsidies.

But the handful of real, fulltime organic farmers who are still in business on this continent vehemently oppose all such subsidies. I know hundreds of these honest organic farmers and social justice isn’t what being organic is all about. But this is what is being bought and paid for with your taxes, and it hurts the last remaining honest organic farmers in North America who still produce genuine, scientifically-verifiable organic food.

The message is clear: when it comes to pretending to save the planet, freedom, science and common sense be damned! Certified-organic food promotes “eco-equity,” not the production of purer, more nutritious or sustainable food.

The politics of organic food is now more important than any of the measurable qualities consumers are assured they are getting when they pay hefty premiums for foods that bear the USDA NOP Certified Organic seal. Is organic food really better for you and the planet? Who cares? We’re trying to run a revolution here!

So please, the next time you shop at Whole Foods or reach for something certified-organic at your local grocery store, please ask yourself, “How much am I willing to pay to perpetuate the elimination of science and the free market from food production? How much is it really worth to turn back the hands of time on modern food production?”

Mischa Popoff is an IOIA Advanced Organic Inspector and author of Is it Organic? The inside story of who destroyed the organic industry, turned it into a socialist movement and made million$ in the process, which you can preview at www.isitorganic.ca.

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