Sunday, November 29, 2009

MLM goes organic :: can this work?

Not quite community-supported agriculture, but only in the US and Canada could they come up with a scheme such as this. Organic Acres, they call it "the future of gardening", is a scheme designed to give you all the pleasure of eating your own "home-grown" organic fruit and veggies whilst not having to get your hands dirty. Allow someone else to grow the veggies for you, and even have your surplus sold at the Organic Acres farmers market. The concept subscribes to all the values that I hold dear - knowing where your food comes from; eating fresh, nutritionally dense, local food; being sustainable - but, what's this about an affiliate program? The system is set up like a cross between a timeshare and a multi-level marketing scheme. Lease a plot where organic veggies are grown on your behalf. Introduce others to the scheme and receive flow-on benefits. The slick presentation certainly makes organic food look appetising to the unconverted. Read more about it here.

But the question comes up again, can "big organic" work? Is it sustainable? Does it make sense to set up a system such as this, built so strongly around a money system that is starting to fall down around our ears? Could a bartering system work better? Are there other ways of funding such an initiative? And what about actually getting our hands dirty? Perhaps it doesn't make sense to have every apartment dweller in an inner urban area experience the dirt and mud of a real farm, but it sure would do them some good to have a first-hand experience of seeing the plant or tree that grows the food they eat.

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