Corporatizing and normalizing radical ideals is nothing new. Terms are co-opted all the time, but that does not make it right.
The red tape that accompanies any bureaucratic certification process aside, the label organic, and some of the farms who sell organic, do not reflect the ideals of the original organic movement. By the way, the original movement began with indigenous Indian agriculture, as observed by the British soil scientist Sir Albert Howard who recorded and developed the system of 'organic' agriculture. Howard said that "the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible." Organic monocultures sucking water and fuel in California to produce spring mix for winter salads in Boston clouds Howard's holistic vision of organic agriculture just as the wordy federal organic program, which has more to say about regulations and marketing than organic farming methods, stifles his words in An Agricultural Testament and other works.
Organic agriculture is a modern description of practices that conserve natural resources while sustainably producing food. These practices have existed for over 6,000 years, and it is only within the last few hundred years that what we call conventional agriculture has emerged. Curiously, conventional agriculture is very unconventional in terms of its historical use, and it lacks widespread agreement, or convention, about its methods and benefits.
Organic agriculture is more labor-intensive than capital-intensive in nature, a characteristic that facilitates its spread and adoption. Its a reason why the demands of conventional high-input high-impact agriculture are so great--there are so many fewer farmers, and it is harder to connect with your land when you need a research plane to help manage the farm.
Organic agriculture works--there's thousands of years of research to prove it, and our ancestors didn't have nearly all of the cool tools we have. [Don't get me wrong though, because this is not a quick techno fix. We have plenty of tools to get the job done, but what we need is more hands, and more hoofs, trotters, claws, talons, paws, etc. This is not easy work, but many hands make light of the worst tasks.] I have seen and heard so many questions about Organic in the literature, but the main one deals with its ability to feed everyone on the globe.
My first thought: prove that organic agriculture cannot feed the world. 2nd: got a better idea? because by mining fossil fuels and fossil aquifers and our fertile soil, by protecting the behemoth centralized food machine and not prioritizing local capacity for production and processing and distribution, by modeling natural agro-ecosystems after machines, we are failing to invest in long term food security. We cannot afford to continue to eat in this way. Other countries cannot afford for us to continue to produce and distribute the quantity of food that we co. The western diet spreads across the globe like the quality of fast food decreases with its temperature. Quickly.
If we want to get serious about feeding everyone good real food, then we need to get serious about food sovereignty/safety/security. One very important thing to realize here: we need (more) people to play a role in the production, processing, and distribution of their own food. Start small and work your way up. It's getting harder every year to find excuses that will keep us in the clear. There are no more excuses. Get local, get involved, find some land, grow. Give it a shot, it's fun.