What Is "Beyond Organic"?
The first time I saw the term "Beyond Organic" was in Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, wherein he attributed it to Joel Salatin’s description of his Polyface Farm, which runs with the goal of "emotionally, economically and environmentally enhancing agriculture". Joel, his father before him and now his children, and countless other passionate farmers, have proven that agriculture that respects natural systems and the environment and results in food that tastes better and is healthier is possible, even on a large scale. They do not use chemical fertilizers, knowing that natural gas is chemically converted into ammonia based fertilizers and that petroleum products are actual ingredients in manufacturing fertilizers and pesticides. Scientists discovered that plants could look great when grown with chemical fertilizers containing the three macronutrients shown on bags as three numbers representing N, P and K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium). Industrial farmers enjoyed greatly increased yields. Unfortunately, without the balance of dozens of micronutrients found in natural systems, these plants were inferior in nutrition and in flavour.
People are now embracing the concept of connecting with their product, getting to know their farmers, eating close to home, understanding and appreciating their food. Joel told me at a round table discussion in September 2010 that he had not heard the term before he began using it himself, but an internet search produced over 45,000 entries for “beyond organic” and revealed considerable controversy. Understandably, many certified organic producers object to the term as it is not strictly defined and they feel that it implies superiority over “certified organic”.
Read more about "What is Organic" & "Certified Organic".