Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation and a longtime presence in the world of California — and national — organic farming, published a provocative essay recently on where organic came from and where it’s headed.
He discusses the hidden history that brought organic regulations into the USDA (which I also talk about in Organic Inc.) and suggests where organic needs to go. Most of all, he provides a much-needed perspective on the debates engulfing the organic world right now, which are leading some consumers to question its worth:
I think the debate has not taken into account that at two percent of the food economy we have little room for interpersonal confrontations. Bitter debates among consumer activists and certain members of the organic trade only serve to diminish the general consumer’s understanding of organic production systems. Organics’ standing has always grown when we put our differences on the table, in public, and worked to come to agreement. Until we have a better understanding of what we have to lose, specific litigation initiatives or back room legislative deals only generate more collateral damage that will need to be addressed repeatedly in the future.
Good food for thought.