Dance Floors are public places that foster the pure joy of movement. Some embrace choreographed affairs with back steps, side-swings or do-si-dos. Others are freer flowing with bounce and bump, erratic hips with arms akimbo.
The basic notion here is that everyone comes together—civilly—to do one thing—Dance—for the single-minded purpose of movement.
What if we consider Organic our very own dance floor? The space that we all operate from.
How many personal digs can we tolerate before the party falls apart?
One dance floor with many movements.
We all have a single-minded purpose—or at least I believe we do. It is to grow organic acres in the US way beyond 1%. We all want organic food to be 20-30-50% of the nation’s food supply.
Heck lets go for the entire world!
So, we’re all moving around this dance floor together working on the same thing.
We want the true cost of producing food to be reflected in the price we pay. We want fewer toxic chemicals in our food, water, land and skies. We want farmers to win with every crop.
We want the climate to settle down a bit.
We want a kinder, cleaner future for our children’s children.
So here we are on this giant proverbial dance floor; perhaps some of us are moving a little more to our own groove, but we keep moving, dancing towards our goal. It’s one giant organic party.
Or is it?
We have some actors who want to break the party up into factions to defend their piece of the dance floor.
This is where the digs come in.
Many dance styles can keep us moving.
In my local town of Santa Cruz, there is a thing called Dance Church where everyone moves to their own beat. All forms of dance are accepted and encouraged on the floor.
In Organic we have many variations that are emerging, interpreting moves in our communal dance party. Regenerative Agriculture, Biodynamic,Real Organic, IFOAMS small-scale farmer and certainly USDA certified are all paths to the same place.
I believe if these different ways of moving get us to the same organic goal, we should embrace them and not let them splinter us into warring factions amongst ourselves.
We are the organic party for gosh sakes!
Another far more serious dig is to believe conventional actors can’t be part of our party.
Quite recently you may have received an action alert about the OTA letting a few Big Conventional AG companies become members because they have certified organic operations.
Folks, the bastions of Big Ag aren’t going away any time soon. These companies are giants in agriculture—especially in the Midwest. But if they want to join us and dance in our party then let’s let them in.
They may even like it and see that they can have more fun, make more money with organic and be better stewards of agriculture. Let’s encourage them to adopt more organic acres and work this thing from their inside out!
We might even learn a few moves from them without compromising our organic sensibilities.
The final dig is pure hatred and witch-hunting which should have no place in our party.
Too many times have I seen people who are stewards of organic get publicly humiliated by campaigns of hatred and loathing.
It happens at NOSB meetings, after GMO labeling campaigns and at Natural Food Expos. We’ve seen trucks driving around with pictures of good people plastered alongside inflammatory language that seeks to divide us.
I have been targeted by one of these campaigns assigned as a corporate lobbyist with the evilest of intentions.
My email exploded, and my heart nearly broke.
Any time one of these campaigns runs, I urge you to remember these are real people with flesh and feeling that also care, in their own way, about the future of organic.
They are one of our dancers.
This kind of divisiveness will only weaken us in the end. People will stop dancing or leave the floor altogether.
And we need every step to make this dance floor shake.
If you get the urge to respond to one of these hatred campaigns, the best thing to do is to reach out and ask the person what they were thinking. You’ll get insight and perhaps understanding.
You may not agree with me, but I’m glad you are here to read it.
We need everyone who is committed to organic—perhaps not our personal version of it—to stay and make this dance party really big.
I believe there are many different kinds of steps we can incorporate into our movement. We shouldn’t be fighting amongst ourselves; we should just keep dancing towards our goals.
Be good to each other.
See you on the dance floor.