Organic, Organic, Organic; It's Beautiful; It's Bourgeois!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009 10:51 By Bernard Maris, Truthout | name.

Organic, Organic, Organic; It

    The Agriculture Show is opening in Paris, and organic farming is the star....

    Well, the star, let's not exaggerate anything. Only 44 percent of French people eat at least one organic product in a month. Organic agriculture still remains marginal, despised as limited to Parisians and the Yuppie Bourgeoisie, to those who can afford it....

    Who can afford what, by the way? To stay healthy? To give healthy food to their children, instead of poisoned food? Such as one minister of the republic who - a little embarrassed - confessed she eats organic food only. "Why?" she was asked. "For health reasons," she said grudgingly....

    But let's not deny ourselves any pleasure: we are beginning to understand that the agricultural industry, the intensive and productivist agro-chemical industry, the one that's transformed landscapes into deserts of completely sterile soil that only become productive thanks to fertilizers, the one that's created factory farming, animals cooped up in batteries, the one that produces 80 percent of vegetables inside greenhouses, the one that pollutes the water in streams and aquifers, is starting to be criticized....

    OK, its true, that kind of agriculture is less expensive; maybe even a lot less expensive ... or maybe a little less expensive. Greens saturated with pesticides and fertilizers are less expensive. Potatoes are not. Nor is rice. Milk? Barely less. Meat is much less expensive, certainly, but non-organic eggs and milk are barely less expensive than the organic variety. But what does "less expensive" mean when "less expensive" ruins the environment and our health?

    Seven Billion Euros for Grain Producers

    And the area devoted to organic farming is supposed to increase. Today it is only 2 percent of the total (which means that 98 percent of our poor farming land is subjected to fertilizers and pesticides) and should triple between now and 2012. That's good. It still means that 80 percent of food will be of lesser quality. But one may imagine that farmers, real ones, will little by little return in France to salvage the terrain from the agro-chemical industrialists. Who sell their products for less.... However, farming receives 10 billion Euros of European assistance per year, two-thirds of which goes to grain producers. Maybe organic farming should get a little more help. The agro-industry produces for mass distribution. Maybe we also need to look at what this mass distribution has done to our lives, by destroying our towns. But the real question is: could organic farming feed the planet? And the answer? Yes, of course, and on top of that, it would do so while respecting and pr eserving it! Last year, 2,000 farmers became organic farmers. That's a small, but good, sign.

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    Translation: Truthout French language editor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 11:30