Two days ago Tom Philpott gave a challenging speech to organic food industry folks at the Organic Summit in Boulder, Co. He has published the text of those remarks as today’s Victual Reality column this week for Grist, and it’s a must-read. Tom has become a good friend of mine so he is going to be extremely embarrassed when I say that among the handful of people writing intelligently and critically about the food system and the associated reform movement, he is on par with Wendell Berry and Michael Pollan, and it is pieces like this one that prove it.
In this column, puckishly titled “Not Just for White People Anymore: How the organic movement can regain its relevance,” Tom takes on the controversial topic of whether the mainstreaming of organic food has caused complacency amongst consumers who are content to shop their way to heaven — the people his Organic Summit audience have dubbed Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, or LOHAS for short. Instead of just selling feel-good products, he says, the organic industry has a responsibility to “educate, inform, and provoke.” Read why he thinks we need to start “talking honestly and seriously about soil fertility” and what he thinks we should do… and leave him a comment while you’re at it.
Tom Philpott portrait by Bart Nagel