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The Market Gardener Podcast Ep. 2

Why Organic MATTERS And Why We Need To Save It

with Dave Chapman

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About this episode

In this second episode of The Market Gardener Podcast, featuring Dave Chapman from the Real Organic Project, the discussion explores the struggles and philosophical shifts within the organic farming community, especially concerning the corporate influence on organic certification standards.

Dave recounts the historical context of organic farming, emphasizing its roots as a movement against conventional agricultural practices and its evolution into a significant market force. He critically examines the USDA’s role in organic certification and highlights how large corporations have begun to dilute the original intent and standards of organic farming by pushing for the inclusion of hydroponic systems and other non-traditional methods under the organic label. This has sparked a debate within the community about the essence of organic farming and led to the creation of the Real Organic Project, which aims to uphold more traditional organic practices.

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[2:53] Intro
[4:19] Organic has always been an insurgency
[5:49] A small farm feels “right”
[7:14] History of organic
[8:26] Ivy league kids growing their own food in the 60s
[10:26] Dave’s farming story \ Organic farming before CSAs were invented
[12:34] USDA vs regional control of organic label
[13:59] You couldn’t find organic at the grocery store in the 90s
[15:03] Early adopters of organic and its importance
[16:32] Fraudulent organic grain in the US
[18:10] The moment it stopped being a “movement”
[19:00] Patrick Holden, Lady Eve Balfour, and Albert Howard
[20:34] Corporate forces co-opting the cultural movement
[21:14] Our food system is more than just farmers and eaters
[22:55] Cargill is a member of the Organic Trade Association
[23:37] The rapid loss of meaning with “regenerative”
[27:56] Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring \ Organic to health connection
[31:00] Organic agriculture is an answer to climate change, why do we keep trying to reinvent the wheel?
[32:58] We are more informed than ever before
[34:43] History of ag in Asia – F.H. King’s Farmers Of 40 Centuries
[36:44] Hydroponic becomes organic and the start of the Real Organic Project
[42:00] CAFO’s in organic
[44:30] Zephyr Teachout’s Break ‘Em Up
[45:43] Monopolies were being broken up before Robert Bork changed things in the 1980s
[47:52] Economic challenge of being an organic grower today
[48:56] 70% of organic berries in the US are Driscoll’s berries
[53:23] How can small organic farmers compete with the prices of big organic?
[54:47] Majority of our food production moving to central America
[58:26] Thoreau and ML King’s activism
[1:01:30] So much change has happened in 100 years
[1:02:48] There has always been bad farming even before chemical agriculture
[1:04:59] Why big companies love “regenerative”
[1:07:12] Monsanto’s “climate smart” agriculture
[1:08:04 Is “No-Till” being co-opted too?
[1:08:44] Enemies of organic are champions of regenerative… huh?!
[1:12:04] Pepsi claims regenerative?!
[1:13:25] Hope for the future
[1:14:26] Consumers want to make the right choice, and more and more are!
[1:18:33] The world’s best manipulators have all the money, and they’re working tirelessly to mislead you
[1:19:09] Seth Godin on the internet
[1:20:20] It was hard for the pioneers in the past, and it won’t be easy in the future either
[1:20:50] Early pioneers of organic had to be hard headed, they took so much abuse
[1:25:30] Europe’s field to fork initiative
[1:30:26] When food becomes cultural it’s harder to manipulate
[1:33:16 How do we bring the ‘precious’ things back that we’ve lost
[1:40:17] Get involved!
[1:42:50] Information on The Real Organic Project
[1:45:19] What book have you read more than once?
[1:46:56] What advice did you only appreciate later in life?
[1:49:05] What’s the best difficult decision and best mistake you’ve ever made?

Mentioned Links & Resources

Real Organic Project

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Welcome to The Marketer Gardener Podcast!

Your gateway to the vibrant world of organic small-scale farming. JM Fortier and Chris Moran explore the big ideas, challenges, and solutions that shape our food system. Join us and the leading voices in sustainable agriculture as we dive into insightful conversations that empower, educate, and inspire action.

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