Though it’s too early to tell whether it’s imploding — or merely suffering growing pains — the $50 billion American organic industry is going through some serious soul-searching.
While some organic pioneers are bemoaning what they perceive as the ongoing degradation of a brand founded in an ideological movement, others see this as a time to critically reassess what organic really means, and how that ancient model of agriculture fits into the bigger picture of feeding and fueling 7.6 billion people in the 21st century.
The industry has long grappled with internal philosophical fissures. But these recently turned into a very public split when the US Department of Agriculture ruled that hydroponic and aquaponic farms, which grow crops in nutrient solutions, and frequently indoors, could continue to display the economically valuable organic seal.
Organic pioneers were outraged, claiming the ….