Michelle Obama’s organic garden makes big agriculture shudder
A proponent of healthy eating, The first lady wants to encourage Americans to eat more healthfully.
The new organic garden at the White House is intended to provide food for White House residents as well as help Americans understand local farming better . The organic garden is reported to have arugula, cilantro, tomatilloes, hot peppers and other herbs.
According to Colleen’s Organic Gardening Blog, Whatever the First Family does is considered fashionable and fans of real food have been delighted by the White House garden, but the agricultural industry has not. All of this positive PR for organics seems to be a little unsettling to Big Ag. So one group, the Mid America CropLife Association, has sent an email defending chemical ag to Mrs. Obama.
In part, the letter says:
“As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America’s farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation.”
However, Mid America Crop Life didn’t just send the letter to Mrs. Obama, they also sent it to hundreds of people who they thought would be sympathetic to their views. Except that to these people, they included an additional note:
“Did you hear the news? The White House is planning to have an “organic” garden on the grounds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the Obama’s and their guests.While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder. As a result, we sent a letter encouraging them to consider using crop protection products and to recognize the importance of agriculture to the entire U.S. economy.”
So, it seems organic gardens make Big Ag nervous or shudder. Why is that? maybe it is that as many of us already know, organic food production is growing rapidly and has reached a level of popularity, that is now competitive to big agriculture. For a long time Big Ag had a monopoly on food production in the US and now it is having to rethink some of is strategic planning and that means disruption. Disruption is always painful to large institutions, just look at the banking industry. That being said disruption often leads to innovation so we hope that the First Lady taking the step of putting in an organic garden at the White House is truly a sign that the tides are turning.
You can see the full text of the letter at La Vida Locavore.