The Truth About Real Organic Food In The Supply Chain

If you haven’t watched the previous Real Organic Project symposium speeches, get busy because we have released three more for you! Highly respected, long-time organic farmers came together to tell eaters that the organic marketplace is changing fast.

They explained that eaters are losing the choice to support better products because those products simply can’t find their way to the shelves.

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping speech came from Alan Lewis of Natural Grocers. Alan explained why it has become virtually impossible to find local, seasonal organic produce on the shelves of natural food grocery stores. He explained how the system is biased toward large scale corporations, aggregated buying, and aggregated production.

The system is designed to source ONLY from year-round suppliers that produce in quantities that can fill hundreds of grocery shelves across the country. Consolidation of distributors allows them to maximize profits by cutting deals with the largest growers to bring in product by the truck load. The product that ultimately wins the coveted shelf space is the one that is cheapest for the natural food distributor.

The cheapest, highest volume product is often the ONLY product that can be found in the store. Gone are the days when the local organic farmer could knock on the back door of the store and sell their carrots.

What appears as choice in the marketplace is really the option to buy from one industrial monoculture or another.

The trouble is that natural systems have trouble conforming to the efficiencies of capitalism. Nature abhors a monoculture.

Alan’s sobering talk contrasts with the hope that author Anne Bikle brings, reminding us that healthy soils create healthy people. She takes us into the awe-inspiring rhizosphere where the plant microbiome resides. Here the linkage between food and farming and health is obvious.

No chemical slurry exists that can think like a root microbiome!

Finally, my speech explains what all Real Organic Project farms have in common: farmer integrity. Real Organic farmers have a deep desire to do right by the planet and their communities. While the NOP has many problems and may be beyond redemption, the Organic Foods Production Act is a good law and there are thousands of great organic farmers across the country. They need our support. We need to be able to find their products on the shelves!

The Real Organic Project is a tool to bring us together in spite of the corporate forces pulling us apart.

Give yourself a treat, brew a cup of tea, and watch these powerful talks. The craziness of the growing season hasn’t hit just yet!

Please forward this email if these talks move you to action. Thank you for joining the discussion.

Yours in the dirt,