Last night in Washington, DC, an audience of nearly one hundred true believers were treated to a two hour tag-team rant from the organic food industry’s propaganda triumvirate. Andrew Kimbrell, who leads the organic food-funded (and misnamed) Center for Food Safety, presented a “book reading” from his latest opus Fatal Harvest, along with Michael Sligh of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) and Wes Jackson, who founded the Land Institute.
Fatal Harvest was bankrolled by the Foundation for Deep Ecology, whose representatives were also in attendance. The Foundation, endowed with money from eco-zealot Doug Tompkins (who founded the ”Esprit” and “The North Face” clothing companies), also funded over 95 percent of Kimbrell’s 1999-2000 Turning Point Project ad campaign.
Alas, the actual “book reading” consisted of two brief paragraphs; in truth, the event was equal parts teach-in and political rally. Kimbrell presented his retrograde vision for 1950s-style farming unapologetically, calling lifesaving genetic food improvements a “biological attack on our planet” and describing the crusade against modern agriculture “our most important political battle.”
Wes Jackson, the philosophical grandfather of today’s green-food scaremongers, added to the rallying cries, calling on farmers to “beat your plowshares back into swords” and fight for organic-only food.
With the first USDA standards on organic foods poised to go into effect next week, and the state of Oregon voting next month on mandatory biotech food labels, one might have expected Kimbrell to be content, if not a little smug. On the contrary, he insisted: “None of us think that the organic standards should be a ceiling. They should be the floor, maybe even the basement of the house that we’re trying to build.”
Indeed, self-styled agriculture “experts” on the Left have their sights set on more than just agriculture. RAFI’s Sligh was quick to insist that “progressive food activists” work together with those in other movements. “Food has got to be organic,” he said, “and it has got to be just…. We have got to incorporate ‘social justice’ models into what we eat.”
Andrew Kimbrell was more blunt about his intentions. Acknowledging Ralph Nader as “my mentor, my teacher,” Kimbrell complained bitterly that America is “a corporate oligarchy – we all know that,” before calling on activists to make “political choices” to conquer “corporate control” in all aspects of their daily lives.
Recent excursions by big food companies into organic products have activists worried. Noted organic-only food zealot Joan Gussow recently told The San Francisco Chronicle: “When we said organic we meant local…We meant social justice and equality.”
Everyone who eats, take note: in unveiling its new “organic” standards, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carefully points out that it “makes no claim that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.”