What we have come to expect from organic food is that it can be pure, pesticides free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm. But, what may come as a surprise to many is that the organic farm is long gone. At some point a portion of the milk produced on these so called small family farms may be taken from a chemical-free cow, powered, and then shipped to the United States. Shipping powered milk 9,000 miles across the world is the price we pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle.
Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted foods that nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients. Now companies like Wal-Mart, General Mills and Kellogg are wading into the organic game. What was once a cottage industry of small family farms has become Big Business. As food companies scrambles to find enough organically grown ingredients, they are discarding the culture that has defined the organic lifestyle. For some large companies, it means keeping thousands of organic cows on industrial scale feedlots. For others, the scarcity of organic ingredients means looking as far as China, Sierre Leone, and Brazil for those scare organic ingredients. Farming without insecticides, fertilizers, and other aids is tough. Laborers often weed the fields by hand. Farmers control pests with everything from sticky flypaper to aphid munching ladybugs. Manure and soil fertilizers must be carefully managed. Sick animals may take longer to get well without a quick hit of an antibiotic. It simply is not clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale.
The corporate giants have turned a fringe food category into a $14 billion dollar business. Organic products now account for 2.5% of all grocery spending and as prices go down demand will soar. With this success problems of trying to feed the masses in an industry where supplies are limited. The fact that the...