Over at his blog Authenticity Hoax, my pal Andrew Potter has some interesting comments about the multiple supposed-reasons for organic agriculture:
Why is organic so important? Ask its adherents, and you’ll get anyone of half a dozen or so answers: Organic farming is more sustainable. It is smaller scale. The produce is more nutritious. It has a smaller carbon footprint. It tastes better.
Having a scattershot of moral justifications for what amounts to yuppie salad is helpful, because it means that when one argument fails, you can always point to one of the other ones as the one you really care about….
And when the above justifications fail (or seem to)? Then, as Andrew Points out, the only solution is to define what’s so great about organic in terms of something that, well, no one can measure — which makes for a reason no one can defeat, namely culture. Quoting a story from the Globe & Mail: “The culture and approach of organic farming is what distinguishes it from conventional farming, organic farmer David Cohlmeyer said.”