The value of organic food is part of a larger environmental and economic reality. So if we ever expect to cultivate its appreciation, protect its integrity, and drive down its cost, we will first need to abandon the materialistic values that have become so toxic to the infra-soil of our culture.

Our goal must be to cultivate an authentic and meaningful distinction between organic and “conventional” food in the light of a broader source of illumination than can be provided by the quasi-values of profit or convenience. Unfortunately, these broader values must be clearly articulated or they will be ignored by those who lack the social incentive, time, and means ( or think they lack the time and means) to cultivate that appreciation independently.

From an ethical perspective ( an oxymoron if there ever was one, since an authentically ethical philosophy naturally derives from a unanimous perspective) society should provide every citizen with the education and means necessary to, at a bare minimum, be able to distinguish between authentic and artificial food.

While on one level there is no better or worse food (all food being a material blessing to anyone who may be hungry, and that includes everyone), there are certainly better and worse food choices based on more or less profound levels of attention.

Anyone who has worn the invisible shackles of economic incarceration understands just how easy and alluring it is to convince yourself that organic or artisanal values are all part of some naive ideal or elitist fantasy. In fact, this interpretation of reality is exactly what the producers of cheap, artificial and unhealthy foods want you to believe.

The very rich are not dissuaded by the fact that these foods may in some instances be only marginally superior while still significantly more expensive. And since the difference in expense is also marginal to them they are more than willng to pay significantly more for that marginal difference. But it is not the same with the rest of us, the overwhelming majority, who struggle to pay for the difference between organic and “conventional” food “products”. What a horrible word “conventional”. A conventional food product is abhorrent precisely because our social food conventions are themselves abhorrent: toxic to the planet, inhumane and unregulated.

No, it is not the elite but the everyman or everywoman who is the intended prey of the mega-producers and their marketing firms that continue to tell them to buy the cheap, convenient, conventional food because the virtues or values they ignore are mere marketing hype.

The invisible economic and psychological pressure to accept the normality of what should be obviously and existentially offensive is prevalent in our society. It underlies all our decisions, values and determinations, both conscious and unconscious. Meanwhile we all aspire to be able to afford what is best for ourselves and our families and not to compromise on our environmental and social values. All of us would rather not be forced by necessity to eat something of questionable social or existential value in order to survive. Fortunately, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to source and produce authentic organic food, food produced in concert with your highest values for far less than even the cost of "fast food”. Really. And if you can do this, (though you may have to modify your own conventions accordingly,) you will be rich indeed.