No, it's not a sequel to the Meatrix, but it has something
of the same visual appeal, and it's gotten a lot of people
talking. In late February, at least four workshop presenters
at the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference opened their
sessions by putting Phil Howard's "Organic Industry Structure"
chart up on the screen. Look, they said. This is what we're
It's a chart that's worth a thousand words. Originally published
in the California Certified Organic Farmers' CCOF Magazine
(vol. 20, no. 4, Winter 2003-04) as part of an article on
consolidation in the food and agriculture industry, it graphs
organic brand acquisitions and introductions by 13 of the
world's largest food and beverage companies. No doubt you've
heard or read about many of these developments already; but
the chart's visual power drives home the potential implications
for the organic farming community in a way mere prose cannot.
A post-doctoral researcher at the University of California
at Santa Cruz's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food
Systems (CASFS), Howard has been obliged to update the chart
to keep pace with the rapidly shifting world of corporate
organics. In the four months since he first put it together,
Dean Foods completed its acquisition of Horizon Organic Dairy,
and Groupe Danone increased its share of Stonyfield Farms
to 80 percent of all non-employee stock.