Thursday, May 4, 2006

Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grow

Posted on Thu, May 4, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grow
Publishing House: Harcourt
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grow
When Wal-Mart's charismatically challenged CEO starts touting his interest in organic food, you know the stuff is no longer the domain of back-to-the-land hippies. Business journalist Samuel Fromartz got interested in the subject organically enough, through his stomach. He loved cooking and food and its presentation and ecology, so he soon fell in love with Whole Foods. He also loves knowing from whence his ingredients come, and, unsurprisingly, some of the best parts of Organic, Inc. serve as an extension of the farmers market ideal: to put a human face on the otherwise anonymous food-supply line. This is accomplished in a series of profiles of farmers and industry icons, which combine to form a diverse portrait of an industry that's still very much in its childhood. From Harvard-educated soybean farmers struggling to sustain a profit to the salad empire of Earthbound Farm, Organic, Inc. is about an industry caught between the idealism of its founders and the profit motives of both modest and imperial players. What unites the best of both strains of the organic movement is the worthiness of tackling the following question, asked by White Wave's soy guru Steve Demos: How do you create a health food Americans actually want to eat? In a time of rapidly bulging waistlines, it's more than a mere marketing quandary.

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