Comment permalink

Organic Food: A History

Is organic food unreasonably high priced? Or is conventional food unreasonably low priced? It’s a question everyone wants the answer to. Why is organic food so expensive? If we had the answer to this controversial question, there would finally be peace in the hearts of all the healthy foodie-enthusiasts and all would be right in their world. It would satisfy the minds of millions of consumers in America and let the big organic company (or small organic company, for that matter) feel guiltless selling their food at such a steep price.

According 

to Michael Pollan, organic food farming on tiny plots of land throughout the city whose efforts resulted in “sorry looking organic produce [on display in the food co-ops]”. In his book “The Omnivores Dilemma”, Pollan states that now in present day, you can still find these hippies, tending a grody patch of vegetables at People’s Park. Ironically this is located five blocks from the nearest Whole Foods grocery center, near Berkley, California.

 People’s Park was first erected back in 1969, founded by the Robin Hood Commission. They saw a vacant lot in the city and saw that as an opportunity. They referred to themselves as “agrarian reformers”. Their objective was to create a society that started from the bottom. Then they wanted to slowly build up by gardening and producing their own pesticide free or “uncontaminated” food. Back in those days, rejecting pesticides in food was, in essence, rejecting the war. The big companies that produced the conventional produce in those days were the same big companies that supplied the war efforts.

“Organic food stood for everything industrial was not”, says Pollan. In fact, one publication, first issue printed in the 1940’s proves to us that organic farming and gardening did not first occur in the sixties as originally thought. The “Whole Earth Catalog” was a publication that served to educate people on how to grow organic food. The publication was created by J.I. Rodale, a health nut foodie who lived in New York City.

In its time, Whole Earth Catalog was considered an “obscure” publication. Then, in the late 1960’s, hippies (who wanted to create “the movement” but didn’t know a thing about farming or gardening) consulted a catalog that featured content from issues of Whole Earth Catalog for guidance on how to produce their own crops of untainted food.

To people interested in creating their own produce, People’s Park was the shining example of success in this movement. It became evident when these plots started popping up in urban areas all over the country. Thus, this formed the birth of urban gardening. Back then, they referred to their efforts as “countercuisine”. This was a focus on bringing “brown foods” to the table and eliminating “white foods”. “Plastic food” was a heavily used phrase at the time. Eating brown foods demonstrated an acceptance for the brown people.