[Market-farming] "organic": actual USDA regulations

Fellenz fellenz at fltg.net
Wed Jul 25 13:54:59 EDT 2007

I have to admit that I just don't get what the problem is with getting 
certified.  I've been certified since 2005 and it isn't a painful 
process.  The standard isn't perfect, but it does establish a floor and 
it simplifies conversation with new customers,
"Are you organic?"
 > "Yes, I'm certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC"

Then , if the customer has more questions, I'm happy to answer them and 
to explain what we do and why and how locally produced certified organic 
is different than organic purchased at the grocery store or Walmart.

Before the standard, organic meant whatever the farmer wanted it to 
mean.  Now there is a common definition.  It probably isn't the best 
definition, but something designed by a committee never is.  Having a 
definition makes it easier to have a conversation with a customer.  If a 
grower wants to do more, to go "beyond organic", there is nothing in the 
certification process which will prevent them from doing this. 

The problem with many "organic" farmers who do not certify is that their 
definition of organic may be substantially different than what most 
would consider to be organic.  I used to sell at a farmers market with a 
:"organic grower" who liked to use a little round-up around the barn and 
to clean up problem areas.  Many other non certified "organic" growers 
use rotenone and other substances which are proscribed by the 
standard.   Or they may spread raw manure and take a crop off it in just 
a few months.   If you asked them to describe their practices, they 
would be happy to share, but what they do doesn't necessarily match with 
what most would consider to be organic.


Pat Meadows wrote:
> On Tue, 24 Jul 2007 16:01:56 -0400, you wrote:
>> "sals" <sals3 at cox.net> wrote the truth and did it well, but I would wonder 
>> at the possibilities of trading the hassel and expence of certification for 
>> the opportunity to build on retail direct to the consumer using a beyond 
>> organic moniker. To be certified is to be no better than the mega growers 
>> like Earthbound, Horizon or "Mission Organics, a supplier to Natural 
>> Selection Foods"( the most likely supplier of the problem sipnach) which I 
>> think I can assure you that the organic founders never had in mind.
>> I think the organic founders had in mind that the consumer should know their 
>> grower, visit his farm, see his work, understand his pholisophy, and buy his 
>> product; to think that having the government list the hoops to be jumped 
>> through to gain the use of a magic word thereby imporving the diet and 
>> health of the nation is utter bullshud.
> \
> Eliot Coleman suggested the term 'authentic food' for this purpose and for
> the reasons you describe.
> See:  http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/main/authentic/authentic.html
> Pat
> -- northern Pennsylvania
> "Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of
> supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to
> live under the laws of justice and mercy." - Wendell Berry 
> _______________________________________________
> Market-farming mailing list
> Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/market-farming

More information about the Market-farming mailing list