Thursday, June 08, 2006

Letter to Wal-Mart

(In case you haven't heard, Wal-Mart has announced that it's going to start selling organic foods, and that they will cost no more than 10% more than conventionally-produced foods. Michael Pollan has a great discussion of this in the NY Times Magazine: .)

To: Wal-Mart

Only Wal-Mart could make a commitment to organic foods sound like bad news. The arbitrary +10% price ceiling is so utterly tone-deaf to the entire concept of organics, sustainable production, and responsible pricing, that it can only be seen as a cynical attempt to co-opt and destroy perhaps the last remaining bright spot in American agriculture.

Once giant, "quasi-organic" factory farms spring up to satisfy your demand, the pressure to water down organic standards--by deceit if not by law--will become irresistible. True organic producers will be driven out of business, and you will have destroyed yet another cornerstone of American society.

I won't be buying any of your "organic" grapes flown in from Chile (and hence drenched in petroleum), or your "organic" poultry whose "access" to the outdoors consists of a crowded pen from which they perhaps can see the outdoors.

Truly, you make me sick.


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