was an auction here the other week, and there was one organic grower there.
It was good to visit with him, but that was it. No one really wanted to talk
to us from the conventional side.”
While farmers in other geographic regions are distinct, different, and per-
haps the brunt of a few jokes by conventional neighbors, in California things
have moved ahead. Based on his experience in California, Phil sees that
organic farming and organic food are becoming more generally accepted.
“Maybe not the stores in small towns, maybe not stores in the Midwest, but
certainly stores in this area. Even conventional stores are carrying a little
small section of organic. And there is some expansion going on all the time.
With more areas in production, with better supply, with more year-round
supply, chains and stores can afford to get back into organic, because they
know there will be some consistency to it. There is a synergy going. As
more people get in and there is more supply, there might be some depressed
prices as far as a grower is concerned. As the prices are lower or closer to
conventional, then a lot more people have the ability to buy it. And then
chain stores will carry it, and more people can buy it.” Such mainstreaming
of consumption will likely filter slowly into the rural countryside. In the
meantime, these independent innovative organic farmers just keep their
chins up and pride intact.
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PgEnds: T E X
It is unfortunate that Americans truly believe they have a right to cheap food.
Phil describes conventional food prices, based on his California experience:
“I think sometimes our food, especially in the vegetables, gets so cheap.
There is just so much supply that comes on at a certain time that people
fight each other for the sale. Then the prices just plummet, and nobody wins
with those prices. The consumer may win in the short term. Whether they
buy lettuce for 39 or 59 or 79 cents, what the farmer is getting for that is so
Prices are low to appease consumers, who are apparently satisfied with
“pretty” food, even if it is of poor quality and taste. In Florida, Rob says,“You
go to the supermarket, they want stuff that looks good. They don't really
care so much how it tastes; they just want it to look good. And Wal-Mart,
they have the ugliest-looking shit I have ever laid my eyes on. It is probably
nasty eating, too. Have you ever seen the fruit they have right here in town?
It is pitiful. I can't for the life of me understand. If I were a buyer for a
major corporation and I saw shit like that going on my shelves, I would
be freaking out. I would be backcharging, writing credits, and I would tell
them, 'I'm not giving you a nickel for that scrap.' ” But Mary understands