PROFILE

 

Public perception of the organic sector is currently paradoxically ambivalent. On the one hand, organic products are understood to be more expensive, luxury or value-added items. On the other, organic methods of production are thought to be remedial, unsophisticated or even anachronistic. Both of these attitudes could be explained as being partly due to the chronic underinvestment in this sector, as can be illustrated by comparisons with the situation in other countries which have committed themselves to a much greater degree to funding the organic sector.

It is vital that measures to stimulate organic production are accompanied by establishing a new positive impression in the public consciousness. This partly involves confronting misrepresentations and undervaluations of organics, but would also mean asserting the positive benefits of organics more strongly in relation to all the issues it touches upon; lifestyle, social, environmental and economic. Without positive practical working examples of all the potential applications of organic growing, others will not be convinced that they are achievable.

Efforts to promote organic food growing through the mass media should be positive and encouraging, but most of all it is crucial that they are comprehensive and realistic, so that they do not raise expectations which cannot be achieved by individuals who could then end up demoralised, disillusioned and wary of attempting to grow their own food again. Hence broadcast material should be well-founded in organic practice to begin with and should ideally be followed up by more detailed information or preferably by ongoing supportive contact. This is currently delivered in a formal context through the ever-popular means of question-times on national and local radio, which could make more of an effort to provide specifically organic information, and also to a degree by helplines available to members of organic gardening organisations. In both of these cases, there is a dearth of practical information derived from actual experience of productive organics, since many current proponents either have academic and specialised experience often outside the sphere of organics, or repeat the secondhand prescriptions they have read in textbooks without verifying them against their actual performance in reality.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.