A recent New York Times Magazine article called “Mass Natural” discusses Wal-Mart’s plans to add add organically grown food to it’s stores. I didn’t even know Wal-Mart sold food so I’m pretty out of the loop on that. Anyway, they’re a gigantic retailer of whatever they sell so this move would have huge ramifications on the entire organic food industry. I’m a big believer in eating as much organic as possible and see the methods of the industrial farm industry to be basically evil. Conventional industrial farming goes for quantity over quality as far as the food goes and very little, if any, thought is put into the quality of life for the animals and the land. Giant retailers like Wal-Mart who are always trying to push down prices are one of reasons the farmers have cut corner after corner and we have ended up with food that is pumped full of antibiotics and other lovely inedibles like cardboard.
Organic farmers, on the other hand, tend to go for quality over quantity, and organically grown food typically costs quite a bit more than conventionally grown. It also tends to be sold in smaller stores and that drives prices up as well, of course. Wal-Mart has said they will only charge 10% more for organic food over similar conventional food. That sounds sorta awesome since organic food will be available to more people, but will the organic food they sell really be as good for us we’ve come to expect? That’s very unlikely. It will likely be shipped from other countries at great expense to the environment, and may even be unhealthy since the farms will use basically the same methods they use now but without the crutch of antibiotics.
Anyway, the article is great and everyone should go read it now. And don’t shop at Wal-Mart.