Today is Food Day, a brainchild of the Center for Science in the Public Interest to advocate for “healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.” Other organizations and individuals have embraced this day to hold informational events and social gatherings large and small.
While I certainly applaud this effort, I must confess to a certain amount of smugness as I say, “Glad you finally caught up to us!” The folks at Rodale Inc. (the parent company of Organic Gardening) have championed this message for the past 60-odd years. It started with J.I. Rodale, our founding editor, who brought the agricultural theories of Sir Albert Howard to the United States and was the first to use the term “organic” to describe it. J.I.’s son Robert built on this legacy, expanding the company’s agricultural publishing into Russia and establishing the Farming Systems Trial, the longest-running side-by-side U.S. study comparing conventional chemical agriculture with organic methods. Robert’s daughter Maria, now chairman and CEO of the company, recently published Organic Manifesto, laying out the modern arguments for why consumers should “demand organic.”
But none of us can afford to be smug, can we? Our agricultural system is (still) broken. On the one hand, at least in America, it is highly productive and produces surpluses almost every year. On the other hand, the food often does not make it to the people who need it, and waste is built in to the system. Often the resources we rely on for life itself—soil, air, and water—are severely damaged by this “productivity.”
So those of us who have toiled in the trenches of the organic movement for lo these many years welcome the young blood that efforts like Food Day bring into it.
For more information about Food Day, click here.