The Mountain Project

Our “Organic” series shirts, in which we depict game animals using quasi-accurate butcher charts with the label “Organic” written beneath them have sold far better than we ever imagined when Chase first asked if I could draw one. After finishing the first illustration I thought, “Okay, I’ll print 50 of these and we’ll see how they do.” It’s to the point that it’s become synonymous with the brand we’re trying to build. They’ve struck a chord with thousands of like-minded individuals. But regardless, there’s always, always, every time we post a picture of an “Organic” graphic or shirt, one or two contrarians who either kindly  or less-kindly remind us that game meat is not technically organic.

The Mountain Project

It’s always nice for the reminder, but it’s also something that we fully understand. So if wild game meat is not “organic” in the sense that you go to the farmers market and buy organic broccoli, why is it that we continue to use the label?

It’s time for a full explanation of our use of the term organic in the “Organic” series of shirts and decals we sell on the website (and wear damn near every day).

I don’t like to say that there’s a war on hunting in which we’re doing battle. The allusion and comparison to what war really is, in which we send our most capable young men and women to kill and be killed in distant lands doesn’t sit well with me. It degrades the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf. But there is an alarming conflict of ideas between defenders of the outdoors and animal populations. Hunters love the land and love the wild animals that inhabit them. So do animal rights activists. Our approach to protecting them, however, diverges in exact opposite directions. As does the rhetoric each side uses to advance it’s position.

Animals rights activists choose to eat vegetables on the grounds that killing animals is immoral. The word “organic” is an important part of the vegetarian lexicon, denoting food grown in the most responsible and conscious methods. It is free of anything artificial, and excludes the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms. It is food grown the way food was grown before food became a corporate venture. And it’s great. There are high standards to meet to label food organic. And unfortunately, wild game meat doesn’t technically meet those standards.

Deer often feed on fields that have been exposed to compounds that would preclude the use of the label if you were able to buy wild game meat at the grocer. We use the label anyway though, annexing the vegetarian lexicon to show the connection of wild game meats to eating as naturally as possible. It’s that simple.

This bothers the literalists amongst us, and that’s fine. We’ll continue to “abuse” the language in the literal sense, to advance an idea we feel is critically important. That when it comes to life eating life, and corporate food production, there’s no better way to consume fats and proteins, than to obtain them from wild sources like free range deer and elk and other sources of wild animal meats. There’s no better way than by seeking that source of food yourself, in the wild, whether it’s technically organic or not.

Is this gross misinformation on our part? We’ll leave the answer to that to the pedantics. And for now, at least, we’ll keep at it.