Tuesday, February 8, 2011

call it non-organic

Words are important. Language is important. What we call something tend to have more meanings than just the technical identification. If we call somebody a terrorist or a freedom fighter makes a difference. If we say someone was shot, killed or murdered also makes a difference. Why is nobody defending "capitalism" but we all love "the market economy" when, essentially people mean the same thing with the two words (the answer is that "capitalism" implies that someone is making a buck from this system and it ain't me!). But also for less dramatic things our language is full of values.

In farming we often speak about conventional and organic as opposed pairs. With this use of words organic comes out as a bit strange, perhaps appealing to the more radical people, but far from being normal. One step is to call conventional farming for "industrial" or "chemical" farming. That sounds decisively negative, but perhaps a bit provocative-which sometimes is good and sometimes is counterproductive. My latest take on it is to call it "non-organic". In that way, organic becomes the norm, the normal and non-organic becomes something strange. In addition, it has a negation, which is never good - people like positive things. I hope that the organic community will go for this in the future.

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