The Organic Hustle

I’ve been at this a long time. Saying it like that makes it sound like I am old, but I’ve been part of a movement since before I could walk, so then yes it has been some time.

My parents were organic farmers and they started in 1975. That was almost 40 years ago! Even before ’75 they were macrobiotic practitioners studying away with other yin/yang hopefuls chewing brown rice together.

The organic food industry is now worth over 30 billion dollars!

It’s almost hard for me to make the jump. When did it get so big?

Back in the early 80’s only a handful of people cared about organic.

Back then it was just us. There were other farmers of course but we could point to them on a map.

In the mid 80’s we left the hustling and non-bustle of our small upstate New York town for better opportunity in what my Dad liked to call: The Rotten Apple, New York City. For several years my parents, me (I was 13 at the time), my younger siblings and a few hired helpers made the trip several times a week to New York City to make more money and move our produce. We farmed about 20 acres at the time.

My first memory of my Mom having a conversation with a customer about the fact that our produce had no pesticides was in the Union Square farmers market. The person commented about how important it was. Even though this was almost 30 years ago, I am pretty sure that the customer commented back about how it was better for your skin. Which is kind of odd since the most important thing you should be thinking about with pesticides– is endocrine system disruption and essentially… disease and cancer. But we didn’t have the phrase endocrine system disruption then or at least the public didn’t.

Bring it to this day forward. A group that does important activism and education around dangerous chemicals: The Environmental Working Group is having Endocrine Disruptor Week–a week of posts about chemicals to avoid on Facebook.

Times have changed for sure. It’s hard to say if things have gotten better. You might assume that it has with the vast spread of the organic movement, but at other times it seems we have more pressing needs then ever to live healthy in our environment.

It was simpler then when it was just me and family, some dirty carrots to wash and a drive from the farm to New York City.

Here’s EWG Dirty Dozen or follow them on Facebook to learn more about important chemicals to avoid.

13 thoughts on “The Organic Hustle

      1. One of the editors must have found your story and thought it was an example of the kind of storytelling that they celebrate and feature. I hope you enjoy the visitors from the community. We are a supportive bunch.

  1. Waving hands—I’m visiting from Yeah Write, too! How amazing that you got to grow up that way. You must have learned soooo much. I miss the farm market at Union Square, I probably even bought from you guys when I used to live there. I’m going to check out those links, I’m a ig advocate for oraganics!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I had a different upbringing then most kids in the US that is for sure. So no more farmers market at Union Square? I’m kind of the loop since I live in California. My parents probably know though.

  2. That’s wonderful that your family has been on the organic bandwagon for so long! We grow as much of our own food as possible; of course it would help if my kids liked to eat something other than plain pasta 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you for commenting. Good for you in growing your own food. Kids can be picky but they are still flexible so maybe you can find some recipes they would like.

  3. I am also visiting from Yeah Write. Great post. I love the picture!

    I didn’t grow up with any knowledge of organic vs nonorganic, but I became interested in the health benefits of organically grown fruits and veggies when I moved to the Pacific Northwest. The town I live in has an awesome co-op, and lots of opportunities for Community Supported Agriculture.

    1. Thanks so much. I actually wrote it on the fly to stick to my goal to post 3 times a week. But I had been thinking about this issue of how to tell the stories of the people who were the movement before it is what is today. The popularity of this post tells me that I would be successful in expanding on this. I have some ideas!

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