Authentic Food - Authentic Farming
By Eliot Coleman, printed in Mother Earth News
The label "organic" has lost the fluidity it used to hold for the growers more concerned with quality than the bottom line, and consumers more concerned with nutrition than a static set of standards for labeling. "Authentic" is meant to be the flexible term "organic" once was. It identifies fresh foods produced by local growers who want to focus on what they are doing, instead of what they aren't doing. (The word authentic derives from the Greek authentes: one who does things for him or herself.) The standards for a term like this shouldn't be set in stone, but here are the ones I like to focus on:
"Authentic" growers are committed to supplying food that is fresh, ripe, clean, safe and nourishing. "Authentic" farms are genetically modified organism-free zones. I encourage all small growers with local markets who believe in exceptional food to use the word "Authentic" to mean “Beyond Organic”. With a definition that stresses local, seller-grown and fresh, there is little likelihood that large-scale marketers can steal this concept.