"Organic, Inc. is the definitive account of organic food's rise and move into the American mainstream."
– Michael Pollan
"In Organic, Inc., Samuel Fromartz gives us a uniquely American story—the emergence of Big Organics from humble origins in small, counterculture farms. Fromartz writes with the passion of an organic partisan but his account of the pros and cons of organics, big and small, is unusually balanced, honest, and compelling."
— Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics
Organic, Inc. tells how an $11 billion industry arose out of an alternative food movement, bringing backwoods idealists into the age of the organic tortilla chip.
A juggernaut in the otherwise sluggish food industry, organic food is now a consumer phenomenon growing at 20 percent a year. But what is organic food? Is it really better for you? Where did it come from and why so many of us buying it?
I set out to answer these questions when I realized my own food choices were changing with the times. Tracing organic food back to its anti-industrial origins more than a century ago, I saw how these ideas bore fruit by influencing a generation of innovators and iconoclasts. Starting on small farms and store-front shops, their alternative way of producing food took root and grew beyond their wildest expectations. In the process, I found the industry came close to betraying the very ideals that drove its expansion, opening a schism at the heart of its free-market success.
"The history of organic food is colorful, but these policy debates make this book important. Fromartz makes it clear just how precarious this movement has been, as regulators and advocates for the mainstream agricultural industry fight for exceptions in organic rules and small farmers are endangered by shrinking profit margins."
— Los Angeles Times
"Fromartz does an excellent job of investigating consumer behavior and the trends that have permanently changed the food landscape. Two accounts, one describing how Silk soy milk stormed the marketplace and another on the rise of "spring mix," or mesclun greens, as the lettuce of choice, are especially entertaining to read.
— San Francisco Chronicle
"Fromartz's journalistic approach, as well as his personal passion for the topic, makes his book an easy read. Through compelling business snapshots of natural foods players like Whole Foods Market, Earthbound Farm bagged salad mix and Silk soy milk, he charts the growth of organic food from its anti-industrial origins. His most compelling portraits are of the small farmers at the heart of the organic foods movement...
"With one eye on organic food’s past and one eye cast on its future, Samuel Fromartz has a comprehensive vision of an industry at a crossroads. Here is a voice that reminds us of our power as consumers. Anyone reading Organic, Inc. will be inspired to put his money where his mouth is."
— Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
"Sam Fromartz has the ability to transform an important subject into an interesting one, as he does with this vivid, vital book, Organic, Inc. No, it's not a new wave or diet book. It's a book that will alter the way we think about what we eat and the business forces that shape what we eat."
— Ken Auletta - Author, staff writer The New Yorker
"Fromartz's portrait of the adolescent industry reveals that that success has prompted an epic identity crisis... If big business is now the muscle of the organic industry, Fromartz demonstrates that small growers remain at its heart... This is a pragmatic, wise assessment of the compromises the organic movement has struck to gain access to the mainstream."
"Serves as an extension of the farmer's market ideal: to put a human face on the otherwise anonymous food-supply line."
—Philadelphia City Paper