This article examines the political allegiances of the organic food and farming movement, asking whether the widespread media assumption that organic agriculture is a leftist cause is correct. Despite the enthusiasm with which organic food advocates welcomed the election of President Obama in 2008—and despite the fact that the geographical distribution of certified organic farms in the United States maps closely against states and counties voting Democratic in the 2008 Presidential elections—a wide range of historical and contemporary evidence suggests that political and social conservatives have long formed an important element within the organic movement's ranks. A distinction is drawn between the politics of organic consumers and the politics of organic farmers, although both groups are shown to include vocal supporters from both ends of the political spectrum. Ultimately, organic farming's political shape-shifting is linked to its mobilization of agrarian ideology, which can be seen as both a strength and a weakness for the movement. On the one hand, organic agriculture shows signs of capturing a political authority and authenticity long associated with America's heartland; on the other hand, a hard-line conservative approach to food and farm policy leaves major social and environmental issues associated with agriculture unaddressed.
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