Organic Food: Where Do We Go from Here

Elizabeth Henderson | 10.05.2018

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Hydroponics and tiny chicken “porches,” are the latest in the watering down of the National Organic Standards opening the industry to big agribusiness and monocultures, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and giant retail. Their decades-long niche closing quickly around them, organic family farmers are searching desperately for a strategy that ensures their survival. Additional organic labels that indicate organic purity beyond the National Organic Standards like “Real Organic” and “Regenerative Organic” are among the proposals to differentiate the family-scale farming (that established the organic sector in the first place) from industrial-grade organic farming. But labels alone aren’t enough.

Longtime organic farmer and farm justice activist in the organic movement, Elizabeth Henderson argues that while it makes sense to protect the integrity of organic labels, this move is temporary and will be ineffective without bringing in fair pricing for farm products and high labor standards for farmworkers. The larger strategic question is: Can the organic farm movement survive without joining ranks with agrarian movements for farm justice and with the farmworkers and food workers who want to change the food system?

Click here to download this backgrounder, or view in full below.

Cover image courtesy of Saltbox Farm

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