I remember when I was a kid, my mother would go to the local greengrocer two to three times a week to get fresh fruits and vegetables. When we wanted bread, it was a quick visit to the baker and the same for chicken at the butcher.
There wasn’t a supermarket on every corner selling everything from washing machines to frozen pizzas to fresh bread. The grocer was a lovely man who ran the business, taking over from his father and keeping it in the family. He knew every one of his customers and they knew him and, more importantly, his produce. If it wasn’t up to scratch, he knew it very quickly. He wanted to keep his customers happy, not just keep them.
Over time, the first modern supermarkets started to appear, but they were nowhere near the size of the ones we see today. They were simple little shops but they offered a combination of everyday items. They allowed the locals to get more items at one time and save precious time. Time was the key factor. The emphasis on saving time signaled the downfall of the local greengrocer, baker and butcher. Modern day living started to offer people more and more in the way of foods and essentials under one roof. Then in the 70s our friends from across the pond started exporting the idea of ‘fast food.’ The love affair with saving time and rushing to get things done by yesterday exploded.
So why does that have anything to do with organic food?
Good question. In the post-WWII era, developments such as the end of rationing, increasing population, the growth of supermarket chains, cheaper foods, commercialism and other factors required food to be grown more quickly, larger and in larger quantities and to be more available all year round. Food manufacturers and supermarkets willingly obliged, with the help of the pharmaceutical industry.
They decided, “If the public wants more, let’s give it to them, but at a price.”
In the quest for ever larger, more bountiful crops of corn, wheat, potatoes, soya and many other vegetables came the onslaught of pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers and, in later years, GMO foods. Our once weird-shaped vegetables with free dirt were no more. They came in much larger, more conformed shapes. An ever ready supply of fruits and vegetables also became available year round.
However, these chemical-laden and GMO crops have managed to squeeze their way onto the shelves and are marketed as ‘regular’ food. If you want natural produce without any of these chemical pesticides and insecticides, then you have to go to the ‘organic’ section, if your grocer actually has a section dedicated to that.
How has it come to be that the most natural and basic of man’s requirements, food, is put over in the corner and we actually have to go looking for it? Meanwhile, food treated with poisonous chemicals is now always available and considered the norm?
That’s why I believe labeling food as ‘organic’ is wrong. It should be just food and any food treated with chemicals, hormones, insecticides and the like should be labelled as ‘treated’ or ‘not naturally grown’.
One day maybe that will come.