Organic agriculture may be outgrowing its ideals

by Elisabeth Rosenthal

American demand for year-round organic fruits and vegetables has incited a farming boom in the arid deserts of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The explosive growth in commercial cultivation is putting stress on the water table. In some areas, wells have run dry this year, meaning that small subsistence farmers cannot grow crops.  Photo: New York Times

TODOS SANTOS, Mexico — Clamshell containers on supermarket shelves in the United States may depict verdant fields, tangles of vines and ruby red tomatoes. But at this time of year, the tomatoes, peppers and basil certified as organic by the Agriculture Department often hail from the Mexican desert, and are nurtured with intensive irrigation.

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