Organic, Inc. tells how an $11 billion industry arose out of an alternative-food movement, bringing backwoods idealists into the age of the organic tortilla chip. A juggernaut in the otherwise sluggish food industry, organic food is now a consumer phenomenon growing at 20 percent a year. But what is organic food? Is it really better for you? Where did it come from, and why are so many of us buying it?
I set out to answer these questions when I realized my own food choices were changing with the times. Tracing organic food back to its anti-industrial origins more than a century ago, I saw how these ideas bore fruit by influencing a generation of innovators and iconoclasts. Starting on small farms and store-front shops, their alternative way of producing food took root and grew beyond their wildest expectations. In the process, I found the industry came close to betraying the very ideals that drove its expansion, opening a schism at the heart of its free-market success.
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