Natural Foods Merchandiser

Organics Reality Check

To The Editor:

After reading Mark Mulcahy's in the September issue of the NFM, I am reminded of that old saying, "careful what you wish for." Over the months I have read Mark's columns and listened to him tout the traditional party line: "Everyone would be better off if the world would go organic." Now he, and others like him, are crying foul. Just the other day I listened to Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panise, tell a national audience that they shouldn't buy organics from grocery stores.

Excuse me? Yes, it would be great if we could all buy direct from the organic farmer, but come on guys, this is reality. We live in a country with over 260 million people. City dwellers with busy schedules are the bulk of our population. It simply isn't practical for them all to shop at farmers markets. The realities of location and time take precedence. We must feed our country in the best way possible, and the current system is a work in progress.

Mr. Mulcahy has been in the battle for a long time. He should understand that success comes one step at a time. Should we attack our own simply because they have become successful enough to grow large? Should we put down the large traditional company now that [it is] beginning to try organics? Should we abandon organic growing practices because fruit needs to sometimes be picked to travel? The answer is clear: NO.

Like Ms. Waters, Mr. Mulcahy and many of the old guard have made a good living on the traditional organic business. They like their little niche and don't want to see it change. But after years of screaming about the benefits of organics, the world has finally begun to listen.

They asked for it, and they got it.

Sure, continue to support the small farmer, buy direct if you're fortunate enough to be able to do so, but don't knock the system—fix it.

Mr. Mulcahy and the others who attack the system should remember that they helped to improve it, and that that process is not over.

Chris Riley
Another Old-Guard Member

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXII/number 11/p. 8

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