Aside from the obvious facts of pesticide-use and chemicals, conventional food is a poor choice, as well. Thomas Dobbs is an economist promoting sustainability without agri-lobbying. He says, “We’re already paying [as much as organic costs] – or more – for supposedly cheap food”. According to Harrison, it’s in hidden costs. Food conventionally produced is heavily financed by the government in our country. Conventional produce is unrealistically cheap.
An anonymous researcher at the USDA is quoted to say, “When we make the argument that low-income people can’t afford organics, we’re assuming that the prices of conventional are the prices we should be paying”. What the unknowing consumer doesn’t realize is there are a lot of outside costs they’re paying. This is from pollution and greater outputs of energy to produce conventional food.
Other countries, unlike the U.S., fund their organic industry (this includes Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Dobbs, et al says, “Many European policy makers treat organic farming as an instrument to help mitigate environmental problems, manage marginal lands, and address falling farmer incomes. “
“The organic movement, as it was once called, has come a remarkably long way in the last thirty years, to the point where it now looks considerably less like a movement than a big business” says Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. In terms of cost, Dobbs proposed an unexpected estimation. He states “if just one-third of American shoppers bought organic foods on a regular basis, most prices would come down to that 10 to 30 percent markup we’re seeing on produce today”.
In the conventional industry and agriculture, it’s more about quantity than quality. Organics go against this philosophy by allowing companies that produce them to give storybook opinions of how their food is produced. These serve to give the modern day consumer an idea of how to differentiate between organic and conventionally produced food. Organic food appears to be put on a pedestal. And consumers appear to be taking the bait.
When farmers see this occurring, they stop caring about the quality of their produce and instead, focus on quantity. Industry’s leaders are more focused on output and profit vs. quality control and assurance. However, Pollan admits “I’m not prepared to accept the premise that industrial organic is necessarily a bad thing”. Not if the eventual goal is to achieve a market, where people of both lower and upper class can purchase pesticide and preservative-free food. Is that such a bad thing?