Negative Article about "Organic"
07.07.2009Negative Article about "Organic"
If you happened to see the recent article "Purity of Federal Organic Label is Questioned" you may have been confused or frustrated.
Click here to read the article.
Here is what the Organic Trade Association has to say about it:
July 6, 2009
Organic Under Fire
By now many of you have read the Washington Post article, "Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label is Questioned," published July 3, 2009. This article, which is being picked up in other print and online publications, focused on old news and urban legends and chose to reinforce rhetoric that is not only inaccurate but serves a narrow agenda whose motivations went unquestioned in the article
OTA, on behalf of its members, immediately refuted the Post article with a full media alert. OTA has contacted the top editors at the Washington Post directly and worked through the holiday weekend to get our message out in the blogosphere and on-line derivative coverage. The Washington Post article was published in the Los Angeles Times, was the second most read article on the Nation section of the Post web site, the most e-mailed article on the Post web site, and author Kimberly Kindy has been hitting the radio circuit doing interviews.
This is a serious attack on the integrity of organic farmers and processors and has resulted in consumer mistrust of organic products. The Post article generated over 200 comments to their website with a dizzying array of primarily negative reactions. If ever there were a time for the industry to rally together, now is that time. OTA will keep the membership apprised of its actions to counter this attack, and will alert you to ways you can help.
Currently there is unprecedented opportunity to further the development of organic agriculture worldwide, for the betterment of the planet and our collective futures. For instance in the United States, we are seeing support from the Obama Administration with key appointments at USDA filled by those who understand organic agriculture and with increased organic funding that will reach historic levels in this year's budget appropriations. In addition, consumers, despite a tough economy, continue to support organic and value its place in a healthy future. This should be a time to expand the demand for organic products and move the industry forward in a positive direction.
However, this opportunity is now also at significant risk.
The "circular firing squad" that exists within the organic community is destructive. It is counterproductive for industry organizations to pit one "type of organic" against another, and a fallacy to believe that airing these internal battles will achieve anything but a discrediting of the value of organic agriculture and products overall. If anything, it provides further fodder for opportunistic negative journalism.
Every time we engage destructive tactics, or support those that do, we only confuse policy makers and reduce the likelihood of much-needed government support for organic agriculture. Mixed messages force officials to move on to issues and agendas from industries that have clear goals and asks. We also confuse the consumers who are looking earnestly to make good choices for their families and the environment, particularly during this time of heightened price consciousness.
Who wins when we point fingers at each other? I predict it won't be anyone within the organic sector, including consumers.
I ask you, now more than ever, to get behind your trade association and speak with one voice about the integrity and benefits of organic agriculture and products. Let's all take the big view and higher road in the months to come. It is critical to the future of our industry.
Click here to visit the Organic Trade Association website.