Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who Grew?

In the ongoing question of local vs. organic, here's further information (courtesy of Grist and an excellent new columnist, Tom Philpott) about the problems of organic mega-farms and monoculture:

"Organically Groan: Working Conditions on California's Organic Farms"

No, these huge organic farms aren't using pesticides... yippee! BUT they still use many of the same damaging practices such as monoculture and employing (exploiting, if you prefer) migrant labor. And since these farms are still located a long way away, the costs and environmental impact of fossil-fuel-based transportation make them only marginally better than conventionally-grown vegetables.

Yes, I know we're rapidly heading toward winter and a distinct lack of locally-produced fruits and vegetables available for purchase and consumption. Yes, I know that in the face of that local lack, organic still trumps conventional when it comes to farming.

But people are still involved in growing these foods, and these people still may not be getting a fair deal.

I should add that it's not my intent to make you feel guilty about everything you eat... just to pass along the information to help you make the best choices, even when the choices are flawed.

And if you're interested in further information on the problems of industrial agriculture, I'd recommend Tom Philpott's blog, the Bitter Greens Journal.

Behind every farm, there's a farm... or a lot of workers.

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