For those of you who missed the green-pasture-shattering article "The Organic Myth" in Business Week, here is a quick re-cap:
Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.
So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic fam is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S.
. . .
Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients.
. . .
As food companies scramble to find enough organically grown ingredients, they are inevitably forsaking the pastoral ethos that has defined the organic lifestyle. For some companies, it means keeping thousands of organic cows on industrial-scale feedlots. For others, the scarcity of organic ingredients means looking as far afield as China, Sierra Leone, and Brazil -- places where standards may be ahrd to enforce, worker's wages and living conditions are a worry, and, say critics, increased farmland sometimes comes at a cost to the environment.
. . .
Hence the organic paradox: The movement's adherents have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but success has imperiled their ideals. It simply isn't clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale.