Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew

Article excerpt

Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew, by Samuel Fromartz. Harcourt, April 2006. $25

No wonder there now is a fledgling food reform movement calling itself Beyond Organic. After reading Organic, Inc. one begins to understand why some would feel a need to go "Beyond Organic." The current requirements for labeling a good as organic would, theoretically, permit frozen Twinkles at your Whole Foods outlet. This is not what organic food advocates originally had in mind. They had a notion that "organic" would lead to a sustainable relationship between soil, food, farming, eating, and human health. Fromartz shows how "organic" foods and the legal use of the organic label has evolved to diminish its meaning. As Fromartz points out, the definition of the organic label was a proxy for the issues that divided the food industries.

This book also demonstrates how the skills and perspective of journalists can produce in-depth accounts of social, political, and economic phenomena that go beyond mere reportage, or "he said/she said" accounts of controversial issues. Fromartz, a business journalist, effectively integrates interviews with key actors in the corporate, government, and organic farming sector, along with savvy analysis of the economic, regulatory, and consumer dynamics that are in play. …