Organic Marketing Is Getting Ridiculous

Prairie Gleanings

Organic farmers should be the most concerned about the watering down of the organic label. They have the most to lose.

Published on: May 21, 2013

In the rush to cash in on the “organic” buzz, seemingly everything is organic these days.

Even stuff that’s always been organic now has “organic” emblazoned across its packaging. Last weekend, I spotted a pallet of organic soil at Home Depot. What?!!

I assume the little white fertilizer balls are the only inorganic ingredients added to typical potting soil. Organic Marketing 101: don’t put the fertilizer balls in, slap organic on the bag, and mark it up nearly 50%.

If I were an organic farmer, I’d be hopping mad. You see, organic actually means something. There are production standards these farmers must follow.

The soil on the right uses 25% less water. The soil on the left is just soil ... for twice the price.
The soil on the right uses 25% less water. The soil on the left is just soil ... for twice the price.

Slapping “organic” on things that are obviously organic only serves to demean what these growers are doing. It reminds me of GOB Bluth’s marketing philosophy for The Banana Shack in Arrested Development. The slogan was “A Frozen Banana That Won’t Make You Sick and Kill You.” I should hope not.

It seems silly, but the organic marketing machine is rapidly approaching this type of idiocy. At Walmart, I spotted this “OrGREENic” pancake maker. Note how the box proudly proclaims “non-toxic” in the corner. Again, I should hope not.

In Tweeting about this silly phenomenon, a farmer responded that he has a friend who sells manure at the farm gate. He markets primarily to gardeners. Apparently, the stuff sold poorly until he branded it “organic manure.”

Wow! Theres a lot going on with this packaging. My biggest question: why would anyone need a pancake maker? Is using a regular old pan that difficult?
Wow! There's a lot going on with this packaging. My biggest question: why would anyone need a pancake maker? Is using a regular old pan that difficult?

I’d urge organic growers everywhere to rise up against this foolishness. If anyone can slap an organic marketing claim on anything, what makes what you’re doing so special?

And, even though I don’t see a need to pay extra for organic, I agree that these products should sell at a premium. I also respect the process growers must endure to raise organic crops.

So, please, don’t let organic become the next “all natural.” Protect that label by weeding out the ridiculous non-food claims.