When did "organic" change?
In high school science classes, we learned that some things (plants, animals, Aunt Gertrude, and motor oil) were essentially organic. Things like rocks, minerals, and Aunt Gertude's annual Christmas fruit cake, were inorganic. That was simple, although nylon stockings and plastic wrap had me confused, and still do.
But now it seems that "organic" means something else entirely, and I wonder if they teach that in high school science classes. (Do they still teach science classes in high school, or do kids have to learn about that on YouTube?)
We went to a Farmer's Market in Carson City today, and most of the fruit and vegetables they had for sale were labeled "organic" (which in our day would have been ANY fruit or vegetable -- I would have hated to try to munch on an "inorganic" peach, even though they all came with stones!).
There were organic honey, organic leeks, organic pluots (which we had never heard of in high school), organic beef, organic corn, organic everything.
I suppose the guy who made these birdhouses could have claimed them to be organic, and I wouldn't have blamed him!
In the grocery stores you can find bananas sold for 69 cents a pound, and right in the next bin you'll find "organic" bananas for 99 cents a pound. Organic peaches cost more than inorganic (?) peaches. Organic beef in the meat counter is way more expensive that everyday beef, unless you are buying USDA Prime Beef from Costco, which is more expensive than inorganic diamonds.
When did "organic" start to mean "anything other than what you grew up eating?"
I started to think about this. It's usually dangerous when I start to think about anything; that's why I stopped thinking some years ago except in idle moments. I believe I have come up with what happened. A certain group of farmers decided to stop using pesticides and chemicals on their farms. They proclaimed it was healthier to eat food grown without chemicals.
Now, stop and think about this. What are chemicals? A quick look into "about.com" gives the answer: "Everything is a chemical." Longer answer: everything is made up of chemicals or chemical compounds. A definition of "organic" reads: characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms. We grew up believing that anything that was carbon-based was organic. Okay, I guess that included Aunt Gertude's fruit cake.
So, even those less expensive bananas and peaches are really organic. And the leeks. So it was a hard sell for the farmers who wanted us to believe that they had found the keys to the kingdom. So they hired a major public relations firm to convince us that it was healthier to eat food that was grown without "chemicals."
Now the American public is gullible, which has nothing to do with those birds down at the seashore. We will believe almost anything if someone shouts it long enough and loud enough or gets a major Hollywood star to mention it casually on the Tonight Show. Coffee is bad for you. Coffee is good for you. Alcohol is bad for you. Red wine is good for you. Eggs are terrible. Eggs are necessary for health. You'd better drink only bottled water. Bottled water leaches nasty "chemicals" from the plastic and will lead to imminent death. You know what I mean. you've seen it, you've heard it, you probably have believed some of it some of the time. So have I.
You want to know the truth? Here's the truth: those farmers who have stopped using "chemicals," and therefore have reduced their cost of production, can now charge MORE for their produce than the farmers who still use "chemicals," and therefore have been able to produce a larger crop that will stay fresh in the market for a longer time, so that you can take the stuff home and use it day after tomorrow instead of tonight!
And that's my opinion, and that's it for today in ... Our Life on Wheels!