It’s bought, it’s sold, it’s debated. But what is organic food? This week on Meat and Three, we travel into the world of organics. In the land we now refer to as the “United States,” indigenous communities have been growing their food “organically” for centuries. But “organic food” in the U.S. is now tied to a slew of technical regulations required for certification. The United States Department of Agriculture defines organic food as food produced without the use of antibiotics, pesticides, growth hormones, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. This is why organic food can be more costly than food produced with polluting chemicals.
When the organic food movement went mainstream in the United States in the 1970s, it wasn’t just about compiling a list of regulations. Its roots dug deep into efforts to protect human health and the environment. Our stories this week explore the meaning of “organic.” We start off with an organic food 101. Then we report on how corporations in the United States have influenced the movement and we hear from the Gorzynski family about why they penned themselves as ornery instead of organic. In our final segment, we bring you a story on how the ties between white supremacy and organic food challenged a farmer’s market to its core.
Further Reading and Listening:
Hear more from Wythe Marschall and Melissa Metrick on Fields. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and never miss an episode! (Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | RSS).
To learn more about corporate consolidation in the organic sector, check out Amanda Starbuck’s recent report for Food and Water Watch.
Find the Gorzynski Ornery Farm at the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. And read more about the farm, and John’s work at NOFA and the Farm Bureau, here.
You can learn more about Abby Ang’s organization No Space for Hate on their website and Twitter. Alison Hope Alkon’s book Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy can be found at your local bookstore. To read more of her work, check out her other publications here.
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