Over the last few days, organic pundits, producers, farmers, and other organic-minded people have gathered in Boulder, Colorado, for the annual Organic Summit. Last night, at the well-attended Organic Farming Research Foundation's fundraising dinner held at Pastures of Plenty organic farm, I chatted briefly with organic growers from Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado. Each of them, seasoned equally by hard work and passion, seemed more tied to the earth than to big ideas. But there certainly are some weighty issues—from nanotechnology to globalization—facing organics these days.
For example, what effect will rising transportation costs have on organic farmers' bottom line? The cost of processed goods? Will the biotech industry win out against organics and gain wider acceptance of GMOs as a solution to the effects climate change on farming? (As one dinner guest pointed out, there are a number of studies and experts that suggest that such industrial farming actually doesn't yield any better results.) Can organic CSAs help save the ailing food system in the U.S.?
Grist's food sustainability writer Tom Philpott, a speaker at this year's summit, reports about soil fertility, industrial ag, and the wake-up call consumers need: Even as organics gain popularity and make people feel good about what they consume, industrial agriculture is consolidating its grip over the U.S. heartland, where it's burning through one of the greatest stores of soil fertility on the globe... Read more from "Not Just for White People Anymore: How the organic movement can regain its relevance."
Stay tuned. As always, feel free to let us know what's on your radar.