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Migrant farmworker harvesting lettuce

Harvesting lettuce is a labor-intensive job.

It's not just 'industrial ag' that profits handsomely

 

Have you noticed in some cities where folks are planting gardens in their yards? I’m not talking about the well-planned back-yard vegetable garden next to the manicured citrus tree that you can only see if the homeowner invites you back there, but the front-yard garden in neighborhoods that resemble third-world countries because of their dilapidated state of repair.

There is a premise that people can simply produce all the food they need if they would just grow it themselves. We don’t need “industrial agriculture;” we can meet all of our food needs otherwise. Really? Do we want to? What about apartment dwellers?

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Back to the GoodFood World [4] position I referenced in my previous blog [5]that suggests that only organic food is good, GMOs are bad, and industrial food production is bad because companies and people profit from it.

Let’s leave the arguments about organic food and GMOs on the table for another discussion. Instead, let’s look at the premise behind the phrase “industrial agriculture,” or if you like “big agriculture.”

Follow the logic and readers are left to conclude that profit, free markets and the entrepreneurial spirit are also bad. After all, someone made money at someone else’s expense, and that can’t be good, right?

Because the only good food left for America is organic, where pharmaceutical companies don’t play and apparently neither does food processors who also churn a profit, the argument then infers the same thing a child assumes when you try to correct their behavior: “You hate me! I’m a bad person!”

Since most people want approval from their peers, they wind up being shamed into at least tacitly accepting the premise that to eat anything other than organic is to be a bad person.

Since not everyone in America is willing or able to grow a sufficient vegetable garden and raise the kind of protein necessary for a healthy diet without constant trips to the grocery store, someone else is going to have to do that. Why not the good folks touting such premises? After all, they seem to have the knowledge necessary to grow organic, all-natural, non-GMO crops they recommend we all eat.

In the spirit of trashing “industrial agriculture” and the profits they generate, are the promoters of this organic lifestyle going to feed the rest of us and provide us with our non-GMO seeds for free? Have you compared the price of organic food in the store to non-organic food? Somebody’s getting paid for that!

How misguided are the attacks on “industrial agriculture” and the profits of conventional growers when one considers the profit margins built into producing organic fruits, vegetables and various forms of organically-raised protein such as free-range chickens, beef, pigs and organic milk?

My point isn’t to say that organic food production is bad or call for it to not exist anymore. Organic food production is not inherently bad. It obviously has its place in a free market where people willingly pay more for organic food while the farmers who grew it and the rest of the organic food chain profit handsomely from it.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ToddFitchette [6]