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The dark roots of faddish food movements Our desire for self-sufficiency has a surprisingly unpalatable history

Eating local and organic isn't better for the planet. Credit: Mike Kemp/In PIctures/ Getty

Eating local and organic isn't better for the planet. Credit: Mike Kemp/In PIctures/ Getty



When a bare-chested Jacob Chansley was photographed storming the US Capitol last week, it seemed safe to assume that, with his heavy tattoos and furry, horned headdress, here was a man who didn’t care for the latest lifestyle fads. How surprising it was, then, to discover yesterday that, at least when it comes to his palate, the “QAnon shaman” is rather picky. According to his mum — of course it was his mum — Chansley can only eat organic food, and, as a result, has been forced to go on an effective hunger strike since he was imprisoned on Saturday. (A judge has since ordered US Marshals to accommodate his rather particular dietary requirements.)

But for anyone who has studied the history of organic and local food movements (as I did while writing my book, Ending Hunger), their apparent endorsement by a far-Right conspiracy theorist might actually seem rather appropriate. For when you start to explore how they came about, things soon get surprisingly dark.

Let’s start with today’s fashion for “eating local”, which conjures up images of idyllic farmers’ markets stacked high with beautifully fresh seasonal produce. The pervasive idea that food should be grown locally can be traced back to the Reverend Thomas Malthus. Perhaps better known for his false predictions of Victorian population catastrophe, Malthus was also instrumental in implementing the Corn Laws in 1815, protecting the price of grain by the imposition of strict tariffs on imported produce.

Like many at the time, Malthus believed that if foreign grain — particularly that being grown in the vast new farms across the Atlantic — came to the UK without restriction, British farmers would soon go out of business. And so Malthus believed that British agriculture must be protected. But the Corn Laws were also designed to protect the status quo for wealthy landowners: they artificially raised the price of basic foods, keeping rural workers in poverty while landowners counted their cash. By 1846, the devastating results were clear — food prices had risen and famine was tearing through Ireland — and the laws were repealed.

Yet in many ways, our desire for self-sufficiency has an even more unpalatable history, one rooted in the nationalism and fascism of the 1930s. It started with Mussolini’s infamous “Battle for Grain”, which was a drive to remove dependence on foreign imports. But it was really under the Nazis that buying local gained its firmest roots. For his part, Hitler had an almost visceral aversion to relying on imports, strongly believing that losing the home front in the First World War — thereby destroying Germany’s trade routes — was ultimately the reason his country lost.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined how foreign policy should centre on obtaining more land to grow food for the German people. Particularly in his sights were the extensive wheat-producing areas of Russia’s “bread basket”, the Ukraine. The Nazi ideal of “Blood and Soil’ was most explicitly teased out in a book by Richard Walther DarrĂ©, a Nazi physician who would later become Hitler’s minister of agriculture. As well as being a staunch eugenicist, Dr DarrĂ© was a local food enthusiast, arguing that only produce specifically grown on German soil was suitable for the German people. He claimed that the supposedly superior Aryan race had a deep connection with the landscape and produce of its homeland, and must be fed from there alone.

Key in Darré’s writing was an idolisation of German agricultural workers as the country’s backbone, something that tapped into a pervasive early 20th-century distrust of urban living. This is classic retrograde, appeal-to-nature bullshit, a theme that sadly persists in much environmental and food writing today. In Nazi Germany, the hatred of cities was often a coded reference for hatred of Jews, who throughout Europe had been prevented from buying land and so largely lived in urban areas. A mystical connection between the German people and their soil ran directly counter to the lives of nomadic Jewish and Romany populations.

And as we’ve seen in recent years, much of this rhetoric resonates in the far-Right today. In 2017, for example, at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Neo-Nazi groups were heard chanting “blood and soil”. It resurfaced again later the same year during the “White Lives Matter” march at Shelbyville. Then, in 2019, after the horrific Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, the perpetrator was found to have described himself as an ‘”ecofascist” in his manifesto.

Of course, many local food movements have emerged without poisonous political associations. But it is always worth questioning why we assign such fads a unity of virtues. A love of a country’s food, nature or produce can be a profound and beautiful thing. But it can also be the acceptable face of insular nationalism, leading otherwise reasonable people to sit on common ground with ideologies they despise.

The truth is that we should produce the best food that we can within a given region, and trade with the rest of the world to ensure the optimum diet for all. Although many will consider this an affront to our national identity, the UK simply is not well suited for agriculture, with a shortage of high-quality land, unpredictable rainfall and a lack of sunlight. We have not been self-sufficient in food for the past two hundred years, and currently import around 40% of all the calories we consume.

Evidence that eating local produce is better for the planet is also surprisingly thin. Even at its highest, in countries such as the US and UK, transport generally only represents around 11% of the greenhouse emissions of food production. The energy required to heat local hothouses often vastly exceeds the energy required to ship produce from warmer countries, and minimising transport often does not minimise environmental impact.

A wider selection of foods from a more diverse area has also benefited people’s health. In many areas, deficiencies in the soil can lead to deficiencies in the diet if people are restricted to local produce. In Derbyshire, just a few miles from where I am writing, alkaline soils strongly bind iodine, stopping it from getting into plants. For hundreds of years, goitre, an enlarged thyroid gland caused by iodine deficiency, was known as ‘Derbyshire Neck’, such was its prevalence in the county.

But if the virtue assigned to eating locally is misplaced, surely Chansley — who calls himself Jake Angeli – is right to favour organic produce instead? Not quite. For this movement also has troubling associations with fascism. It dates back to the 1920s, when biodynamic farming — an early offshoot of the burgeoning organic movement — was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner. An Austrian anti-Semite who created a pseudoscientific theory of “root races” to justify ideas about Aryan superiority, Steiner also believed that the persecution of Jews was part of their “inner destiny”.

Towards the end of his life, in 1925, Steiner developed his theories of agricultural practice, still known today as “biodynamic”. Much of this was entirely sensible and ahead of its time, focusing on the importance of continued soil fertility rather than crop yields, and viewing the farm as an ecosystem rather than a food-growing medium.

Rudolf Hess was a particularly ardent fan, and many of the Third Reich leaders were strong advocates of biodynamic agriculture. Steiner’s thinking strongly influenced the so-called Green Wing of the Nazi Party, and a biodynamic plantation was set up at Dachau to produce materials for SS doctors carrying out ‘experiments’. Much of this early development information fails to make the websites of the various biodynamic associations around the world.

But of course, if organic production actually reduces the environmental impact of food, most of us would probably forgive its disturbing past. From an environmental perspective, the evidence in favour doesn’t look great. Many studies have been conducted, and the balance seems to show that per unit of food, organic farming produces more greenhouse gases, uses more land, has higher rates of nutrient run-off and is worse for acidification of soil.

Yet there’s much about organic agriculture that is entirely sensible. As Chansley will no doubt tell you, it recognises the importance of soil health and looks at the farm as a system, rather than a hydroponic medium for plant growth. It also often finds new ways to control pests and weeds, many of which may help combat the increasing threat of pesticide resistance.

Too often, however, organic practice — just like the trend for buying local — is not based on the best available evidence, but on a toxic mix of cultural privilege, mysticism and a rejection of modernity. If there really are some benefits to these movements, they should resist the desire to return to an imagined past. After all, that past really isn’t something in which we should take pride.


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Auberon Linx
Auberon Linx
3 years ago

This article makes two arguments against favouring local and organic food production. The first one, their association with unpalatable politics, is spurious – we do not object to health campaigns to curb smoking just because Nazis were the first to be anti-tobacco. The second one, about higher costs of locally grown foods, both economic and environmental, is more convincing. However, this line of reasoning assumes that the current geopolitical circumstances always stay roughly the same. The Coronavirus pandemic is a good reminder that this is not the case. It seemed a good idea in the “normal” times for the West to outsource production of essential medical supplies to countries which would produce it on the cheap. Once the pandemic-induced export restrictions kicked in, a heavy price was paid. How more worrying if a country cannot feed itself. Short-term costs of producing more food locally are more than justified by the resilience this confers in times of crises which surely will come.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Auberon Linx

You beat me to it.

The Nazis 1st manifesto talked about pensions I believe and other reasonable things – it was the anti Jewish/foreigner bits for which it is correctly condemned. The Nazis also are remembered for a good transport infrastrure (good thing) and for kicking off WW2 and committing horrific crimes (bad thing).

Steve Wesley
Steve Wesley
3 years ago

Labouring the point a bit isn’t it? I try to buy local foodstuffs if I can, and I’ll opt for a British product if it’s available, affordable and of the right quality. Who’d have thought that I was unwittingly furthering the cause of National Socialism. Wait until I tell the local grocer that he’s actually a jack booted stormtrooper, I think he maybe somewhat surprised.

Muscleguy
Muscleguy
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Wesley

But perhaps you will think a bit more. NZ for eg proved that even with transport (by ship, not plane) NZ lamb has a lower greenhouse footprint than UK lamb does. Because NZ sheep are by vast proportion fed grass. Whereas here especially in the winter months foodstuffs for them are brought in which raises the CO2 cost of the food production.

In many parts of NZ in La Nina years the grass continues to grow in the winter, albeit at lower rates so supplemented with locally grown hay or more likely silage.

NZ a large net food producer is not self sufficient in grain, there is little flat land (Canterbury plains) suitable. Must ‘eat local’ deprive NZ of grain? Must the Pacific islands be forced back onto cyclone vulnerable local crops entirely?

The backbone of most GF flours is rice flour. I have stocked up in advance of Brexit just in case. If food imports ceased i would be limited to potato flour, maybe some buckwheat, very much maybe. Not enough. No tapioca, another staple of mixes, no sorghum very useful. No glutinous rice flour (no more pot stickers). Cornflour, potato starch and maybe, just maybe a little buckwheat. No thank you.

si mclardy
si mclardy
3 years ago
Reply to  Muscleguy

Yes, this is more like the real discussion that should be had

si mclardy
si mclardy
3 years ago
Reply to  Muscleguy

If lamb raised “locally” is fed grain from abroad that could be an argument for more local agriculture, not less. Maybe, but a good discussion would delve into detail like this. The criticism of organic agriculture in the essay is far too superficial.

Muscleguy
Muscleguy
3 years ago
Reply to  si mclardy

Organic needs lots of inputs, either they buy in stuff like straw, barley/pea straw etc. etc. or they need a big enough farm to grow it themselves. These fields are thus not growing food. They are growing stuff to put on fields to grow food.

Yield is also lower so it takes more acres to grow an equivalent amount on organic vs normal fields.

Just to expand a bit on the correct point in the article. Which is backed up data as it says.

Once the population curve (boosted by longevity, not fecundity btw) begins to trend downwards. Possibly after we hit 9billions, then we can think about ‘organics’. In the meantime it’s a hard to argue for luxury. Especially at the moment with imports reduced by Brexit.

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  Muscleguy

Why is Brexit ‘reducing imports’?

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  si mclardy

It isn’t – UK lamb is mostly fed in winter on silage – i.e. excess spring/summer grass baled and bagged for later. We don’t have any need to import barley for sheep production since we produce plenty of our own.

voodoopolitics
voodoopolitics
3 years ago

All those words and the author ignored Soviet history, Stalin’s destruction of the peasantry and the Terror Famine that killed 5-7 million in Ukraine in 1933. Looks like all the sins of “dark” food history are on the Right? And I’m ignoring China. This is not a good article or good argument.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  voodoopolitics

Can you put “Right” in scare quotes? Or put “so-called” in front?

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  voodoopolitics

I know! Mao should be in it twice as much as Hitler. This is the nuttiness of a Liberal Education where all ultimately reduces to Left – Right, and Right is bad.

si mclardy
si mclardy
3 years ago

I heard that Nazis where known to insist on bathing once a day. We need to take a hard look at the nefarious practice of bathing. This article is good but does not go far enough in drawing all the links between you and hitler. ðƾ˜‚
I also know that they kept meticulous records, another evil practice that will ruin western civilization.
Cheers

Ps not sure if they bathed once a day but lets not be too meticulous.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  si mclardy

I thought they were at the forefront of animal welfare.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
3 years ago
Reply to  si mclardy

I heard it was once a week, but still progressive for the era!

Paul K
Paul K
3 years ago

Ah, another of these articles about the ‘dark roots’ of anything local and self-sustaining. Sigh.

Interesting to see organic food here described as ‘faddish.’ Most of the food produced in the world today is ‘organic’, over 50% of it grown by small farmers on around 25% of the world’s land. ‘Organic’ is what the poor eat, everywhere but in the West at least. What Western people call ‘organic’ food is historically, and globally, just ‘normal’ food – that is, food grown without artificial fertilisers and pesticides which are themselves mostly products of the fossil-fuelled industrial economy. ‘Organic’ is normal. Pesticide-swathed food and soil, on the other hand, is very much a product of ‘cultural privilege.’

As to the stats quoted – the real issue is not factory-farmed ‘organic’ versus factory-farmed ‘conventional’ foods: this is a red herring which the author ought to know, and perhaps does. The real issue is scale. It is a fact, confirmed in every comparitive study, for example, that small farms are more efficient – that is to say, more crops can be grown per hectare – than large farms. This blows apart the conventional notion of economies of scale and nobody is quite sure why, but it’s likely to be something to do with the care and complexity of traditional agriculture, versus the destructive monocultures of modern industrialised farming which the author seems to favour.

If you want to ‘feed the world’ though, the evidence is in: you’d be better off doing it through small and family farms. But that wouldn’t fit the distribution and profit moderl of global capitalism that this author apparently favours, and thus is it ‘mystical’ ‘anti-modern’ and – yes – fascist to boot.

What’s funny about this piece is that it’s merely the latest iteration of a very tired old trope which the left has been using to bash green localists with for years. Some variant of ‘liking nature/organic food/localism/walking in the hills/folk music etc is fash’ has been with us since at least Murray Bookchin, and intellectually it’s as dead as he is.

I hope Unherd will do better than this in future.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

50% of organic food is produced on 25% of the world’s land? And what percentage of the world’s food does that represent?

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Organic isn’t ‘normal’ – it’s an ideology from the 1930s that arbitrarily decided that some old technology was better than all new technology and has refused to move on It’s nothing more than a nostalgia-driven belief system.

Moreover, it’s clearly a fad in the UK – only 3% of our production is ‘organic’.

Which means that 97% of us reject it.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Hereburgher

No it’s not. The organic movement was primarily about soil health, not arbitrary at all.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

I rather do not think the cheap insect spray used recklessly by the poor and uneducated farmers is factored into your account of ‘organic’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I always knew that the stallholders at the farmer’s market were fascists. One of them even made loaves shaped like swastikas. Anyway, I’ve told BLM/Antifa and there will be violence next weekend…

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Titania, you are self-identifying again.

David J
David J
3 years ago

I’ll stick with the excellent food supplied by my local producers thanks, and leave politics where it belongs ““ in the bin.

Sally Collings
Sally Collings
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Everything is political, you can’t ignore the ethics of our daily life choices. Please?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Sally Collings

“Everything is political”? I recall reading a similar statement in Dr. Zhivago-“the private life in Russia is dead”. Is your marriage political…your children-your parents-your friends? It sounds very dreary to me, but I do have friends and acquaintances who seem to subscribe to this “belief”.

Frank Nixson
Frank Nixson
3 years ago

This whole argument is pretty specious. I prefer organic because I dislike eating pesticides. I think ingesting pesticides is probably not good for me. I buy local sometimes because I want to support local farmers both from a food security perspective and from a local economy perspective. I don’t do either of these things from a political perspective. I am frankly unaware of the historical positions advanced by National Socialists regarding food, nor do I care.

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Nixson

Plants and fungi defend themselves by any means necessary. The vast and overwhelming majority of pesticides are entirely natural. Pyrethroids, nicotinoids, strobilurins, cyanides, opiates, strychnine, ricin to name but a few are all made by plants because they don’t want to be eaten. And if you really want to scare yourself, look up mycotoxins.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

that past really isn’t something in which we should take pride.

Those concluding words sum up several of the reasons why so many comments here show annoyance or frustration. For anyone who respects Mr Warner’s arguments elsewhere (as I do) about food faddism, about questionable ethics in the promotion of specific kinds of food, and the many other such things he has raised in various forums ” this article comes across as, at best, a disappointment.

I don’t need to elaborate on the article’s tendency to use identified connections to draw spurious conclusions about historic practices such as organic farming ” other commenters here have done so, and better than I can. And at least one other person here has spotted the somewhat disconcerting fact that all the examples of “dark roots” are drawn from the so-called “right” ” from Nazism, from “ecofascism”, and from everywhere except what are probably the greatest mass-killers in the history of food production ” the regimes of Soviet Russia and of Mao’s Chinese Communism. Those regimes appropriated ideologically oriented, false science, to support practices that resulted in mass famines, killing millions.

There’s the rub. Mr Warner’s article seems imbued with some of the most sinister presuppositions of the modern progressivist movement’s ideologies ” presuppositions shared with those totalitarian regimes:
1) we know better than those before us;
2) even if we are not quite as improved as we would like to be, our knowledge of those possibilities for improvement places us above our predecessors;
3) such perfection is attainable.

Mr Warner is right to caution us about the dangers of returning to an imagined past. But that is not what drives most of the organic or other farmers or horticulturalists I know (and I know quite a few). Nor is a quasi-religious idealism necessarily behind a desire to support localism in food production. There is something fundamentally wrong with an economic system that supports what a farmer I know does, albeit reluctantly. Year after year he grows carrots. They are sold in the local supermarket; but only after they’ve been shipped several hundred miles to the packing station and back again.

Nor was prelapsarian nostalgia what, in the late 1940s, drove one of my grandfathers, a professional horticulturalist, to become one of the earliest members of the Soil Association. Nor was it what drove a farmer I know in the west of Ireland to turn his large, mixed farm into entirely organic production. They and, I suspect, a large number of others, were and are preoccupied with developing a wholistic relationship with their land, flocks and plants ” with good stewardship rather than with efficient exploitation.

If the Nazis understood the benefits, so what? “Dark roots” do not come into it. As I drive along the M5 out of Exeter, should I be troubled because it was the Nazis who invented the Autobahn?

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
3 years ago

Claiming the Ukraine as Germany’s breadbasket may have been in accord with Hitler’s dream of German self-sufficiency, but it cannot really be construed as an outcome of a ‘local eating’ movement – indeed it is somewhat contradictory to the concept.

Sandi Dunn
Sandi Dunn
3 years ago

Clearly mischievous. Why would you do that?
So then, I like a nice cup of tea when I get up in the morning, does it make me a fascist if the likes of Hitler enjoys a nice cup of tea in the morning too?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandi Dunn

Yes.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandi Dunn

And if you are kind to your pet dog you must be hiding swastikas in your sock drawer.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

Death by Association without actually realising that Fascism and Nazism are products of the Left not the Right. Hence National Socialism.

The author is clearly behind the curve. Food sovereignty movements do not advocate organic as such but agroecological practices.

A recent report from the UK’s Food, Farming & Countryside Commission finds that agroecological farming could produce enough healthy food to feed the expected UK population in 2050.
https://tabledebates.org/re

This open access book explores the conditions that support or hinder the transition of the food system towards agroecology: rights and access to nature; knowledge and culture; systems of economic exchange; networks; equity; and discourse.
https://tabledebates.org/re

However, the most important point you missed in your diatribe is the fact that food import dependencies inevitably leads to land grabing, forced evictions, deforestation and slum urbanisation abroad.

Strange how you are remiss about these modern day versions of fascism!

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

This (the report) is very interesting.
Will take a while to digest, but thanks for posting.

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago

This article is utter pants.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
3 years ago
Reply to  simon taylor

What about this article do you disagree with?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

Irritated with myself for falling for it. Clickbait.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

All food was “organic” before the discovery and implementation of pesticides and antibiotics-is there any doubt that ingesting these substances has negative ramifications? Also, the political connection is pretty lame.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

By the middle of last century there were dire predictions that the population would outgrow the world’s ability to produce food. The agricultural industry did not overcome this challenge by going organic.

Sandi Dunn
Sandi Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Martin

The Covid virus is perhaps nature’s way of dealing with the arrogance of human/science thinking that they/we can beat nature’s laws and eat chemically produced food in hope of livIng longer than our allotted healthy 3 score years and ten.

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Given that we lead vastly longer and healthier lives because of modern agriculture, yes, there’s plenty of doubt about your nebulous claims.

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago

Shortening ones supply lines is vital during times of global upheaval, and is good housekeeping at any time. I like to shop locally- not least because it keeps the money local, which benefits my community and therefore, me.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

This article seems to have really cherry picked the examples and arguments it suggests are behind various food movements.

Martin Davis
Martin Davis
3 years ago

This and the adjacent article on birth control seem to share similar arguments with regard to the dubious origins of certain socio-economic trends, viz. birth control and organic produce. Whatever the origins, and historic presentation of these ideas/practices, this does not preclude consideration of them in their current rather than their historic context. Are pro-choice activists actually advocating eugenic objectives? Are organic framers emphasising blood and soil? I think not.

robincamu
robincamu
3 years ago

I laughed out loud – but of course anything bad/right/conservative has its roots in Hitler!

Dawne Swift
Dawne Swift
3 years ago

This article is a brilliant example of woke thinking. How bizarre that somebody can actually think “if organic production actually reduces the environmental impact of food, most of us would probably forgive its disturbing past.” Modern thinking at its best – if a questionable organisation approves of something, that something must also be consigned to the dustbin of history. Baby and bathwater spring to mind.

As for the ideal of self-sufficiency resonating with the “far Right” and therefore being “bad”, self-sufficiency is also a central philosophy for the “far Left”, communes and Kibbutzes.

The UK may not be able to be fully self-sufficient in food production, but in a constantly politically precarious world why would it not aim to be as self-sufficient as possible in food and all other supplies? Right now, in this pandemic, there are shortages of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as other goods on our supermarket shelves. Covid tests/lack of production due to covid/intransigent border controls in France and Holland have caused these. What about Germany, France and Holland closing their internal borders to other EU countries during the first part of the pandemic, with, for example, Germany and France refusing to allow PPE goods, which had been ordered and paid for by Italy, to be exported to them?

There is a reason why self-sufficiency is ingrained as a “good thing” in the human psyche.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Notwithstanding discrimination, war crimes and genocide, the nazis were also keen on: Animal welfare, architecture, exercise, nature, engineering, affordable housing, national infrastructure projects…. If we abandoned something because “a nazi once approved of it” we wouldn’t have much left.

Muscleguy
Muscleguy
3 years ago

I’ve been a critic of ‘organic’ food from the start from a scientific p.o.v. and an animal welfare one as it turned out. Their animals suffer unnecessarily because they refuse medicines. A number of ‘organic’ farmers have been prosecuted under animal welfare laws after declining vets’ recommendations.

It is also an attempt by the middle classes to create a food which differentiates ‘their’ food from hoi polloi’s food. The increased cost of it is part of the whole feature.

I eat more of it than I would like since I’m both lactose and gluten free and the stuff is all ‘organic’ as well. It increases the cost and is part of why I do my own baking since I can dictate the source of my flours. A number come from the Chinese supermarket (cheap) and are NOT ‘organic’. I rarely eat pre-prepared baked goods, partly it’s full of sugar, partly it’s free of too much (eggs, dairy) and partly an aversion to paying for an illusory cachet.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Muscleguy

[citations needed} (other than your say so).

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

Plenty if you’re interested – “The March of Unreason” by d**k Taverne is a good start. Or
http://www.rationaloptimist

And if you’re interested in food safety, steer well clear. The biggest food poisoning incident for decades was caused by organic beansprouts in Germany – 53 died, 800 suffered internal organ damage https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

Hereburgher
Hereburgher
3 years ago
Reply to  Muscleguy

Absolutely right – I’ve even seen cases where homeopathy has been used as a ‘treatment’ for mastitis in organic dairy cattle – this agonising bacterial infection can and does cause sepsis but is easily and swiftly treated by antibiotics. Placebos don’t work for animals.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago

“Evidence that eating local produce is better for the planet is also surprisingly thin. “

So? We buy our grass fed beef from farms we know. Compare this to the dreck bought in a supermarket, and you may as well be eating different foodstuffs.

I don’t buy meat from supermarkets. I buy local meat.

Alex Camm
Alex Camm
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

Glad you can afford it.

Surely the point is to be able to provide food for as many people as possible at a rate they can afford.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
3 years ago

Nice article – I (un)learned several things I took for granted about organic farming.

Thanks.

Mom In MO
Mom In MO
3 years ago

Considering the fact that Michelle Obama starting pushing organic and locally grown food with her White House garden and in her book, linking this now to the far right is a joke.

Mark Stone
Mark Stone
3 years ago

Good article. The whole foodie movement is based fuzzy ideas. The carbon foot print and land share of organic beef is a shocker yet your average (non veg food faddee) will swear by it and claim the fastest route to nirvana. If were going to feed 11bn or so people we are going to need a really healthy industrialised food sector that ignores international boundaries and efficiently moves good quality varied produce around the place. Oh hang on, we’ve just created a load of boundaries to food movement haven’t we? Doh!

Cant keep politics out of food.