Speaking as a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector, the recent vote in Jackson County Oregon to ban genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) marks a HUGE setback for the organic community across America.
For years we argued that the farming community should respect OUR right to be organic. Now we’ve switched to denying our neighbors THEIR rights. And that goes against everything it has ever meant to be organic.
We were never in the business of denying our neighbors the right to use advanced technologies. We only stipulated that WE would not use them, and then let customers decide if they agreed with our philosophy. And they have.
During the same time GMOs have been in use, organic sales grew exponentially, putting the lie to activist claims that GMOs threaten organic farms. The organic industry in North America is now worth more than Major League Baseball, and publicly-traded organic businesses compete on the NY Stock Exchange against conventional food companies, a measure of success, not victimhood.
This is America. If we don’t live by the free market, we shouldn’t be surprised if the free market suddenly turns on us.
Mischa Popoff is a policy advisor at Heartland. He is a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector, and is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Is it Organic?
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