Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
similar machines and crews, and only the actual fertilizer and pest control
methods are different. The organic fields rely on horse manure compost
and beneficial insects rather than agrichemicals. But despite this impor-
tant difference, such production practices undermine the fine line between
conventional and organic production, particularly in terms of scale. Large
corporations such as General Mills demand large supplies. It is simpler for
them to buy from a single 2,000-acre farm than from twenty 100-acre farms.
This “conventionalization” of organic farming appears to be a regionally
specific phenomenon, based on California production. We can trace this
from the development of the California Earthbound Farm brand, which
began in the early 1980switha2.5-acre organic raspberry farm. It is now
abrandgrownon11,000 certified organic acres in three states (California,
Colorado, and Arizona) and three countries (United States, Mexico, and
New Zealand). In addition, the Earthbound Farm brand is actually part
of the Natural Selection foods company, which controls 6,000 more acres
under the Mission Ranches company and has a close relationship with the
large conventional produce company Tanimura and Antle. Tanimura and
Antle recently converted some of their huge acreage into organic production
(Fass 2002). At least in terms of the California example, consumers are
fooled into buying organic products that are supposed to be more “natural”
when in fact they are produced with the same socially “unnatural” large-
scale methods as their conventional counterparts (Guthman 1998). In terms
of both consumers' and farmers' perceptions, there is variation in how
“natural” organic farming truly is (Verhoog et al. 2003).
Based on interviews with approximately seventy experts in the organic
sector (certifiers, farmers, processors, retailers), Buck et al. (1997) describe
the “conventionalization” of California organic vegetable production, par-
ticularly in the concentration of marketing and distribution. The trend is for
organic farms to “look” more like conventional farms in terms of migrant
labor use, purchased inputs, and off-farm processing and packaging. As the
system evolves, it could be that smaller organic farms will be overlooked, as
marketing opportunities and distribution systems become tailored for larger
production. Unfortunately, these authors provide no tangible suggestions
for how we can slow this trend.
More specific research on organic growers' practices suggests many Cal-
ifornia farmers are only half-heartedly applying organic techniques to their
crop management (Guthman 2000). This study is confusing, however, be-
cause both certified and noncertified organic growers were included, so
their techniques are not uniform or inspected. In any case, 150 growers were
interviewed, and their field techniques were rated according to accepted
[81], (12)
Lines: 170 to 176
———
0.0pt PgVar
———
Normal Page
PgEnds: T E X
[81], (12)
Search WWH ::




Custom Search