August 2012



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Organic Food: Sorry, I'm just not that into you

Dear Organic Food and Your Many Loud Supporters,

You are delicious and noticeably superior to you altered counterpart. In some cases you've made me realize that I do like item X so long as it's natural. All praise aside, I do not think of you as a profoundly moral issue or a factor in education that people are just waiting to discover. It's well known you taste better and are probably better for me. It's flaunted in every ad campaign that has even the littlest claim to organic material let alone actual educational and news media sources. You are so much better for me, and if I want you, I'm expected to pay a premium for my better health.

Beyond your lack of moral bearing, I think it's classist when people bring you up as a profoundly moral subject. We don't all have equal access to you with your expensive price tag and your appearance in limited stores. I've been hungry and looked longingly at you while choosing to purchase your cheaper counter part. It's what I had budget for and certainly veges of any sort are better than more processed foods. I think of people choosing to either eat better or to have themselves and their families feel full, and I understand exactly why processed is picked over you.

I know your supporters claim anyone who respects their body and the food they put in it should always choose you, but Organic food you aren't like smoking. People don't just pick up the processed food without thinking and unaware. Most Americans antagonize over their food whether for weight reasons or for pricing or for some kind of cache that certain foods seem to have at certain times. And people need to eat where they don't need to smoke. That processed food might be a need for many. They choose to eat that rather than starve, and I think even you organic would be hard pressed to say that starving is better than processed food.

Like many pagans I think there is something mystical in food preparation and like many liberals I think that corporations are amoral entities that will do what they can get away with and therefor need to be eschewed. Both of these beliefs do lead to you, Organic Food, being superior to processed food particularly when local. However: I acknowledge these things as ideals not as something in stone for all people to follow. Like most moral statements there are situational circumstances that alter what should or should not be done. Should I buy organic food for myself and only me with my money or buy processed food for my family and I: my budget can only support one or the other. Should I buy the processed food and give the excess to a food bank or should I buy organic food for only myself? Am I a good enough gardener with the time and correct soil/location to grow my own vegetables or must I rely on what comes into the stores? There are so many relative questions and some of them truly seem to have no good solution or right answer. Why would I judge other's choices or give advice in a manner that sounds like there is only one definitive conclusion a sane rational person would come to?

Organics you have much of my love, time, and money. My loyalty to you was easily won. You can have lots of things from me, but moral high ground is not one of them.