From Social Movement to Moral Market: How the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market

From Social Movement to Moral Market: How the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market

From Social Movement to Moral Market: How the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market

From Social Movement to Moral Market: How the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market

Excerpt

The young organic food industry won legitimacy, but only by distancing
itself from its core idea of the connection between soil, food, and health
.

(Fromartz, 2006: 29)

In the market for organic food, sellers have found a way to marry social values, such as healthy eating and land stewardship, with economic value, such as higher margins for their products. This formula works. While the rest of the U.S. economy contracted following the collapse of its financial markets, the organic food industry grew unabated. From 2000 to 2010, sales of organic food increased 438% to $26.7 billion (Organic Trade Association, 2011). Yet organic food was not always big business. The market began as a countercultural movement in the 1960s. Dedicated to taking back the land from industrial production, groups of activist farmers began buying land to grow fruits and vegetables according to organic farming principles. Demand for their produce grew as activists challenged industrial food producers and promoted organic methods as a healthy, environmentally sound alternative to food grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Media accounts about the dangers of pesticides, like the “Alar scare” of 1989, further stoked the demand for organic food. Small health food co-ops and stores grew larger. Before long, mass market organic retailers, such as Whole Foods, were expanding nationally and internationally. Today, consumers can find organic food in just about any supermarket in the United States. Organic retailers and growers still consider themselves purveyors of healthy food and stewards of the land. However, as the organic market grew and stabilized, the underlying movement became less radical. In order to create something economically valuable, market . . .

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