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Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew Paperback – March 5, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Fromartz provides a brief history of organic farming as an alternative to a deeply flawed agro-industrial production system. We learn that organic methods were developed for ideologically diverse reasons but tends to produce nutritionally superior foods when compared with conventional farming practices. Although yields are usually smaller, the author discusses how organic strawberry farms in California are an example of how organics can outperform when allowing for decreases in energy and fertilizer input.
Mr. Fromartz profiles some of the small organic farmers whose deference to health, environment and community were shaped by the 1960s counterculture. A small but vital network of farmers, distributors and retailers supported a fledgling movement that defined itself by remaining outside the conventional food system. The author describes how such farmers often devised creative marketing strategies by catering to specialty restaurants or selling their produce directly to the public at farmer's markets.Read more ›
The problem seems to be that the organic movement itself is being challenged by the very agribusinesses it once eschewed. There are really few ways to farm sustainably (which will in most cases mean organically and without genetically modified foods or chemicals) AND use the systems that have come to mean "factory farms" - livestock confined for their entire lifetimes in areas so small they cannot turn around or lie down (chickens, for instance, and pigs), never mind see the sunshine or walk around and enjoy fresh air, eating what they would eat if humans were not around.
Agrisystems, as they exist today, are basically unhealthy - and unsustainable. But they are profitable, and make it easy for "food" (if you want to call it that) to arrive at your table packaged neatly and processed to death. Rare are the children being raised today who knows what "food" looks like in its natural state. Do they know what a carrot or beet looks like, while it's growing in the ground? Do they know that the hamburger they eat comes from a being that has a face and makes sounds, and may (depending on your viewpoint) be sentient?Read more ›
Organic foods sales grew at 20 percent per year during the 1990s, attracting the attention of the food business. In the process, organic went mainstream and became an accepted niche market at grocery chains and even big-box retailers such as WalMart and Target. The author's real question is whether this represents "progress" or "problem" for fans of simpler lifestyles and all things organic.
The documented answer is some of both. Fromartz is a highly accomplished business journalist who takes a (mostly) unsentimental look at the business of marketing organic foods. Interviewing small and large merchants plus the `man on the street,' Fromartz discovers that organic is profitable and growing, yet at the same time poses a risk to traditional fans who are unlikely to shop at big boxes for the food they know and love. While the mainstream consumer `discovers' organic, the core organic customer may be wondering if she can trust anyone, anywhere, any more. This dilemma, the author notes, resembles putting up "a neon sign for an organic Twinkie."
After an entertaining and excellent investigative look at the business of organic, Fromartz holds out hope that both kinds of organic - mass market and small market - may find ways to thrive. For the core customer, related values like humane treatment of animals, fair market pricing, and sustainable agriculture may become more relevant indicators of value than the simple phrase `organic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author wrote in the Introduction to this 2006 book, "I am not an agrarian writing about the deep meaning of the land, nor a gardener focused on the best organic methods, nor a... Read morePublished on April 11, 2012 by Steven H Propp
"Organic Inc" is an in-depth exploration of the organic food industry, from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook: A Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes to Food to Live By: The... Read morePublished on January 2, 2012 by Amaranth
Sam Fromartz has written a very good, easily read book about what is wrong with the food supply in today's world. Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by E. Hanner
I enjoyed some of the history in this book, but I had trouble following the events. The author jumps back and forth with different draft regulations, statements and lawsuits in no... Read morePublished on October 5, 2010 by AMerint
I'm not much of an organic food purchaser, but I've always wondered why people bought it and whether it really made any difference. Read morePublished on November 4, 2009 by SirMike607
This book paints an excellent picture of what the business side of organic farming looks like and where it came from. It is a quick and easy read that I recommend. Read morePublished on June 10, 2009 by D. patton
This book is an educational read on the nooks and crooks in the organic industry and how it has evolved over the years. Read morePublished on March 9, 2009 by Yuni
I have been very ambivalent about the organic culture and wanted to understand more about the origins of the organic movement, its significance, and the trends I observe it to be... Read morePublished on August 21, 2007 by H. Seiferth
I enjoyed this book. It was a great introduction to the organic world.Published on November 2, 2006 by Christina