One week from today, the USDA’s new organic-food labeling requirements go into effect. As we approach “O-day,” the same self-anointed environmental saviors who agitated the loudest for the new regulations are whining that they will hold advantages for the “wrong” products.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that the organic food industry “has become a big farmer’s game” and quotes a local organic farmer’s complaint that “the movement has been adopted by big-ticket commerce.” Up the road in San Francisco, the Chronicle characterized organic growers yesterday as “the foes of large agriculture businesses,” and gave another activist a soap box to grumble that “corporations are going to walk away with the whole organic name we created.”
Why this hostility? Didn’t the organic food movement want to convert the masses? A clue comes from organic-only food zealot Joan Dye Gussow in a separate San Francisco Chronicle Sunday feature. “This isn’t what we meant,” carps Gussow. “When we said organic we meant local. We meant healthful. We meant being true to the ecologies of regions. We meant mutually respectful growers and eaters. We meant social justice and equality.”
Gussow, by the way, is an “overseer” of the Chefs Collaborative and sits on the advisory board of the misnamed Center for Food Safety. She is also a director of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, a $75 million philanthropy that doles out money to anti-consumer activist groups like the Tides Center, the Western Organization of Resource Councils, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.