Marion Nestle disembowels “organic is elitist” argument

Three cheers for Marion!: At the end of her column, nutritionist Marion Nestle provides a fabulously steely answer to a reader’s question, “Aren’t organics elitist? People can’t buy organic foods if they aren’t available at an affordable price.” High prices aren’t organic producers’ fault, she says: they’re the result of a corrupt system of subsidies, “federally administered marketing programs and from cozy relationships with congressional committees and the USDA.…If we want elected representatives to care more about public health than corporate health, let’s work to remove the corruption from election campaign contributions. If Congress were less beholden to corporations, we might be able to create a system that paid farmers and farm workers decently and sold organic foods at prices that everyone could afford.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

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2 Responsesto “Marion Nestle disembowels “organic is elitist” argument”

  1. Yes! Let’s eliminate the subsidies. All subsidies. Not just food but also subsidies on oil and everything else. If that were done then the market place would sort things out. Oil prices would soar, as they should, to reflect the real price of petroleum. This would result in more conservation and innovation to energy saving solutions. We need higher oil prices. Unfortunately people scream bloody murder when they have to pay more for a gallon of gas. This would increase the price of food and other things that are so dependent on oil. As it should. Down with subsidies. Up with prices. Up with conservation and innovation.

  2. Jim says:

    Marion Nestle’s answer to “are organics elitist” is misleading. While she makes many valid points throughout the interview she is way too casual with her facts and storyline, given her pedigree and experience base.

    She trots out the “corn and soybean farmers and federal subsidies” versus organics, implying that if corn and soybean farmers did not receive subsidies, organic food would be similarly priced.

    She would have been better served to compare organic lettuce production to conventional lettuce production wherein both are industrialized, neither receives subsidies, etc., etc.