Chris Sawyer css at ioa.com
Fri Jul 26 15:54:43 EDT 2002

John Buckley wrote:

> It is not important that the federal government, i.e. agribusiness,
> coopted the term "organic".

John writes further that he buys his food from farmers he knows... Great, I
wish I had more customers, and John I am just down the road from you in
Candler on the way to Asheville. My point is that my buyers require I be
certified. Wellspring and Whole Foods require it. I have to support my
machines, pay the propane bills in the winter, etc. I cannot move that
quantity of food at the local tailgates or through my CSA. Those incomes do
not support even growing one acre of food, much less seven. Our average take
at the wednesday pm market in west Asheville is 110 dollars, and Saturday at
Black Mountain we might break 300. Pitiful. Last time I filled up my five,
five gallon cans and the truck the bill was over 50 dollars. Two years ago I
went to the market in Waynesville and had to compete with people selling 25
lbs of tomatoes for 4 dollars. I charge 2/lb for my heirlooms. That is what
it takes to grow them, they don't yield much with the type of disease
pressure we have here in mountains. Blight is spread by rain and dew. Plants
can only be worked when dry, which is not real often around here lately.

Certification is a curse. It would not be nearly so bad if we small farmers
could be granted exceptions to the record keeping related to what plant is in
what bed on the farm. I have 400 plus beds if I numbered them all, many get
three crops in one year plus cover cropping and no one bed is planted
entirely in the same crop. Can you imagine the nightmare. I need a full time
person to follow the planters just to keep it all the way the inspectors
want. I agree there should be some sort of uniform policy to protect
consumers, especially is one is going to be trusting the supermarket
varieties of produce to be safe. If we don't involve the government, then who
is going to go to these farms and make sure the product came from the right
farms. How do we know the supermarket produce guys are not switching our
stuff out and just calling it organic? They are not required to be certified.
Only the farmer gets stuck. Once my stuff leaves the field the trucks are not
inspected, anything could happen in trucking to contaminate my product. Most
folks in the US don't have a farm nearby like the mountain area of NC does.
They have to believe someone however in order to have food security when
making the choice to eat uncontaminated foods.


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