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The Big Business of Organic Food

on 2001/5/18 9:45:02 ( 1437 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 13, 2001: In this long, long article, Michael Pollan reports on his journey through the changing world of organic food. He begins with the ever-increasing selection of organic foods at the supermarket and closer inspection of some of his favorite brands. He found organic food is no longer produced just on small farms. For example, Cascadian Farms, a company who makes a popular brand of organic TV dinners, has recently become a subsidiary of General Mills, the third biggest food conglomerate in North America. Organic food is now the fastest-growing category in the supermarket, and rapidly attracting the attention of the very agribusiness corporations to which the organic movement once presented a radical alternative. Pollan traces the history of Cascadian Farms and its founder, Gene Kahn, a former hippie farmer who is now a General Mills vice-president and a millionaire. Mainstream food companies such as Gerber's, Heinz, Dole and ConAgra have all created or acquired organic brands. Today, five giant farms control half of the $400 million a year organic produce market in California. That is resulting in lower consumer prices but threatening the existence of the smaller organic farms. Pollan discusses industrial organic farms, big and little organics, and what the "word" organic means today.

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