Say there are 100 apples to feed 100 people. One apple is organically grown, 99 are conventionally grown. That would about equal the 0.8% of cropland that USDA says is organic right now. So, 1 person gets to eat the organic apple, 99 get to consume the ones with more chemicals. (Maybe they have more chemicals, maybe they don’t.)
Who gets the organic apple?
Or … Let’s say that we could expand organic agriculture to 10% of cropland overnight. In my arguably simplistic example, 10 people would get to eat organic apples, 90 wouldn’t. That’s still a difficult decision.
I say we do away with these dual forms of production – organic and conventional. For starters, it’s more costly to develop and maintain two sets of standards. A close second is that “organic” has become more of a marketing term than an assurance food wasn’t grown without chemicals, or was necessarily better for the environment. There is also, as I’ve laid out, the ethical question of who gets the organic food.
An alternative, in my example, could be to stop using the most egregious chemicals on all apples. No one would get to eat an “organic” apple, but everyone would get to reduce their exposure to our most dangerous chemicals.
What do you think?