In December 1997, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launched a nationwide grassroots campaign called Save Organic Standards (SOS). Over the course of the next six months, OCA and our allies in the organic community successfully mobilized hundreds of thousands of organic consumers, farmers and retailers to stop the Clinton administration, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness from degrading organic standards and allowing GMOs, irradiated food and sewage sludge to be used in organic farming.
Since the first SOS battle, despite pro-agribusiness, pro-GMO, pro-factory farm policies and appointments by corporate Democrats (Clinton and Obama) and reactionary Republicans alike (Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and Trump), the U.S. market for certified organic food has grown from a $3-billion niche market in 1997 to a $50-billion-plus powerhouse today.
Still, federal policies that consistently favor and subsidize Big Ag continue to hamper organic farmers. And the desire of Big Food companies to grab a slice of the $50-billion organic market pie threatens to erode organic standards.
We could give up. We could think small. We could fight one small battle at a time.
Or, as Ronnie suggests in this week’s essay, we—food and farming, climate, natural health, animal welfare, social and economic justice activists—can join forces to fight for a Green New Deal that takes on all of the issues we all care about.