The organic label has been important for us at Big Bowl but not necessarily the most significant. It’s always posed more challenges than our other values, which can be good if they help make us better.
A recent New York Times article, Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized? confirmed my sense about this space. The takeaway basically questions the authenticity of the organic label when those who determine the criteria are connected to Big Business and stand to benefit the most. This is why local trumps all.
The five main pillars for building good food at Big Bowl focus on local, sustainable, natural, earth-friendly and organic. The tenet of local, however, holds the most power and has the most impact. Buying local supports local people and local businesses, puts money back in the local community, reduces the impact on the environment without the need of long distance transportation, and tastes the best when it’s locally grown.
The NYT piece reminded me of a blog I wrote a few months ago on the “all natural” labeling and how it has become more about marketing than ensuring that the consumer is getting a truly “clean” product. More people want to buy organic and trust that it is indeed better. Unfortunately, as more genetically modified additives are approved for use, true “organic” loses its way.
The solution? Consumers paying a premium for cleaner food and products need to do more homework because the label for “organic” will become more broad.
Local may not be organic or even natural but there’s a real person behind the product. It’s a farmer, an individual or a business you can interact with, ask question and even visit. That may be old school in this day and age – but that’s a good thing.