Successful marketing campaigns don’t just connect with you because of their product or service. They connect with you on a much deeper level.
Successful marketing campaigns tug on your heart stings and connect on a deeper emotional level. Like, Apple: Get a Mac and De Beers: A Diamond is Forever.
The organic movement has been no different.
First of all, food is an extremely emotional product. Think about all that it means to us. Food is what keeps us going, what keeps us nourished, and what keeps us alive.
Another factor is that food is a product that effects every single person in the world.
That is an emotional connection.
Diamonds are not usually in the forefront of a man’s mind.
Apple products, although many get very emotional over their products, mean nothing to PC users.
Food is a different story.
Organic Word Association
To a diehard purchaser of organic products, “organic’ means much more than its definition (derived from nature). Put in other words, not made in a lab.
When people think “organic” they think:
That is the result of a first class marketing campaign put on by the organic farming and food industry.
Are those feelings of safety and health warranted?
Let’s take a closer look.
Is Organic pesticide free?
Having grown up on a farm (full disclosure a conventional farm), I have always asked if we were an organic farm. I would say no and receive a quick “well why not?”. “Don’t you know it is better for you?”
My response: “Really? Why do you say that?”
“Well because they don’t use chemicals.”
As a quick aside, the term pesticide is a blanket definition for any chemical compound that kills a pest. An herbicide, for instances, is used to only kill weeds. An insecticide on the other hand is used to only kill insect pests.
So, a substance defined as a herbicide is always a pesticide; but, substance defined as a pesticide does not necessarily mean you are talking about a herbicide. A substance considered a pesticide could be one of a wide range of compounds.
When it comes to organic food production, the claim that it is “chemical free” is not necessarily accurate. That is in fact not the case. Here are just a few of the chemicals found on the USDA National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances:
- “As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation cleaning systems: alcohols, ethanol, and isopropanol.”
- Chlorine materials: calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, and sodium hypochlorite
- Copper sulfate
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Peracetic acid
- And more…
You can check out the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations here to clear things up if you may have some confusion.
So when you see “organic” you should not automatically think “chemical free”. It is not always the case.
Ways to find out if the organic food you are buying is in fact chemical free?
There is lies the motivation behind the movement at its core.
Where does our food come from?
Who grew it?
How was it produced?
I believe that everyone has the right to know where their food comes from. In the same breath, however, I think it is our responsibility to take ownership in the food we buy and eventually eat.
Question your super market.
If many towns, there are multiple options to purchase groceries, meats, and other goods. Visit all of the stores in your area and ask questions.
Where do they source their products?
What are the names of the producers?
See if you can get in touch with the producer and question them on their practices. Check the cleanliness of the store. How does the meat counter look? Do they have rotting vegetables on display. Take note of all these facts and shop at the store that your are comfortable with.
Local Farmer’s Market
A local farmers market is a great way to make the connection from farm to table. Here you are able to actually talk with the producer one-on-one. Ask them about there operation and practices. If they allow it, see if you can actually visit their farm and visit your food at its source. If the grower is doing all the right things, they will be proud and honored to show you around.
Locally Raised Meat
This goes along with farmer’s market, but, if you’re family consumes a fair amount of meat, finding a local meat producer is a great way to secure high quality products for your family. Some may be uneasy with it, but many times you can actually pick out the animal. If that is not for you, you can have the farmer or rancher pick out a great option.
I think the desire for organic food goes beyond what it actually is. Food. We really want what the image that most people get in their head when they see a product marked “organic” at the grocery store. We want to think that all eating organic tastes better, that eating organic is better for the environment, and that eating organic is a way to cure possible disease. We want to think that all “organic” animals are raised in conditions where they could frolic in the tall grass and have the warm sun beating down on them.
That is quite an image. Heck I would want that.
In order to move forward we need to fall out of love. We need to start looking at our food production though a different lens.
In all aspects of our lives, we embrace technology. Most of the world has an iPod, and more and more every year get cell phones. Who says these aren’t potentially deadly for us?
That being said, I don’t see an organic iPod in our future.
It all goes back to what we talked about at the beginning. Emotions.
We could get rid of iPods and we (may) survive.
But get rid of food? We don’t have a chance.
I think what we really want is not organic or conventional food. I think what we really want is responsibly grown food.
The fact of the matter is, a lot of science, technology, and studies goes into the production of synthetic materials. But who says the growers are always following the rules, dotting their i’s, and crossing their t’s?
That is what scares us.