While the area in organic production continues to expand, and we see a growing selection of organic products in the U.S. marketplace, the “Why organic?” debate continues. Many proponents of organic production methods claim this is the only viable strategy for cleaning up the environment and creating a sustainable food system based on contemporary energy and other resources. Critics contend that higher yields can only be achieved with chemical fertilizer and pesticide use, and that this strategy is essential for maintaining our food supply in a future with growing human populations and competition for scarce farmland, water, and fossil energy. There is a near religious faith in the health and safety benefits of organic foods among those consumers who increasingly seek out these products for their families. Proponents of industrial agriculture argue with equal fervor that the U.S. food system is the safest in the world and that there are no proven differences between organic food products and those produced with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In this chapter, a perspective is advanced that the debate is due to lack of education and is not based on the merits of one type of farming or food versus another, but on our inability to ask the right questions about our food system.

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