How dare she plant an organic garden outside the White House and bill it as an example of healthy choices?  Well, some people are angry and they’re not going to take it!  Industry leaders are calling on their fellows-in-interest to write letters to Obama to pressure her to use pesticides in her garden.  You couldn’t write better satire!  Really, it’s like something out of Thank you for Smoking.

As I’ve said, the benefits of organic produce at present are greatly oversold by an increasingly corporatized organic industry.  And right now we don’t have any agricultural models which can feed the whole planet with existing organic methods, though there is promise.  And yes, organic practices do present their own problems, environmentally as well as health-wise.  But for these companies to panic over a single garden is indicative of a corporate culture which actually resists the basic engine of progress according to most free-market ideologists – the demand of the consumer.  They want the consumer to shut up and stop thinking about what they’re putting into everybody’s mouths.  After all, but for conventional practices, a midwesterner couldn’t buy strawberries three months early (no kidding, that’s actually in their letter).

I also love it when major ag business starts talking about the intrepid family farmer.  You know, the kind of person representing the tens of thousands who have been put out of business and if they’re lucky rehired as serfs to caretake their acquisitions.

What’s really funny is that it’s horrible politics.  If they’d just kept their mouths shut, the garden would have been a feature story in fluff media for a few days, with everybody saying “well, isn’t that nice,” with the garden becoming at best the subject of a Trivial Pursuits question and future hippies’ conversation, “there was once an organic garden that the White House” which you half believe as you sedgeway into conspiracy talk of Y3k.  This story is good for a round of debate on the major networks.

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