Those aren’t my words (okay, well maybe just the bamboozled part). Today’s blog post heading is actually extracted from a statement from the USDA Organic Certification Website!!!
I decided to venture into the unknown by simply googling Organic Farming Regulations. I know…its not 20 years of study, but it’s still information at your fingertips. I didn’t have to search too far because the first entries populated were documents written by the USDA on Organic Certification and Consumer Profiling.
My findings are not for the faint of heart or willing blind sheep. So if you are either of the aforementioned…RUN!
1. I love you, I care about you…now give me your money!
I know, it totally sounds like something an ex ex-boyfriend would tell you, but he’s not the only one. While weeding through the Organic USDA jargon, this is what I uncovered…
“U.S. producers are turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income. Organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production.”
Everything seemed in line until… I read the description again…and again…and again. Each time I just couldn’t shake the first line which clearly states that organic farmers are primarily interested in yielding more money by putting in less money, and that the new system is a way to “capture high-value markets and premium prices and boost farm income.” (Insert screeching halt here______)!!!
But wait…what about the animal rights and human rights I’ve been hearing so much about. Is that an afterthought?
2. It’s not about YOU, It’s about Mother Earth
If we simply look at the current landscape of organic products the consumer is inundated with messages that Organic Farmers treat animals better so that the consumer product is better…and ultimately healthier. We’re also getting messaging that Organic farmers are more socially responsible and respectful of Mother Earth by reducing their carbon footprint. But what about the humans struggling to live on mother earth? What about the humans that are going broke because they are brainwashed into believing that organic equals a healthier way of life? Which brings me to my next point….
\3. Attention! Organic Consumers…We Know Who You Are!
Did you know there is also a profile on the make-up of an Organic Consumer? He/She Must be tall, dark and handsome!
No really, there is a profile. I uncovered a survey report written by Rachel Dettman of the Economic Research Service of the USDA. It’s an older report (presented in 2008- yes I need to find more current information), but it goes on to state that, at the time of study, industry research showed that half of frequent organic consumers made under $50,000, and that African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans purchased more organic products. Another study indicated that households with graduate degrees were less likely to buy organic products while households with children under 18 were more likely to buy organic products (hello fear- mongering spreading rampant amongst concerned parents and the agriculturally un-educated)!
So does this mean that well-intentioned, hard working, moms, dads and organic food- lovers are being bamboozled? Have I been had?
The article goes on to say that some of the research is conflicting, but could it still hold merit? For all intents and purposes is it fair to say that organic products were primarily purchased by people who could least afford to purchase them.
So my parting question is as follows: Is the selling and manufacturing of organic products really socially conscious?
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