Nobody owns the “soul of organic”—and nobody should.
At this point in time, nobody can even claim to speak for the organic
community now that it has evolved—or at least morphed—into
so many living, moving parts. I mean, it’s alive. With a field
of commercial opportunity unimaginable even 10 years ago, lots of
organic scenarios are being plotted as you read this. Playing out
before us are divergent contemporary extensions of historic essentials.
Which of them feels right depends a lot on who is doing the feeling.
Bob Rodale always quietly insisted there was more good to know
and to achieve. He wouldn’t settle for organic in its pre-USDA
package days, but kept plotting what a regenerative agriculture
could do. His vision was for “organic farming that enhanced
soil quality while raising food; farming that would respect nature
and natural processes.”
Bob wanted people to make significant choices toward regeneration
together, where they shared the work and the reward. This is what
farmers do when they take control of marketing to find and interact
with people who care. Our update is full of examples of this kind
of vision breaking out in practical, economically sound ways.
In western Pennsylvania, grad students
team with a group of local farmers and a brew-pub to keep food
dollars circulating many times before leaving
the area…. In Toronto, an upstart entrepreneurial
nonprofit teams with a food-service giant to land
a local, sustainable food contract with the biggest university
in North America…. Farmers and their supporters in Minnesota
rally to convince an oil company
to reroute its pipeline around an organic farm….
Our Senegal specialist argues that Big
Money going to Africa will be best spent when
it empowers family farmers to build soil as they develop sustainable
systems—and markets—with local wisdom…. A Kansas
farmer wants you to lend your voice—and
your food dollars—for farm policy that actually
nourishes farms in the local places you drive by.
This harvest of eaters sharing the work of building new farming
possibilities—and rewarding farmers who are shifting toward
regeneration—signals the springtime of something really powerful
and really promising.