OFMA and some other issues and opinions (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at sunsite.unc.edu
Thu Jan 15 13:56:45 EST 1998

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 01:11:30 -0600
From: "Douglas M. Hinds" <dmhinds at acnet.net>
To: guyclark at sockets.net
Cc: cooperative-bus at relay.doit.wisc.edu,
    organic-certification at listserv.oit.unc.edu,
    sanet-mg at shasta.ces.ncsu.edu
Subject: Re: OFMA and some other issues and opinions

Guy Clark wrote:

> Hello all-
> ...I knew the minute the central government got involved that they would make
> the standard less and less stringent and more and more expensive until they
> drove all us small time, independent operators out ... I am thankful to OFMA for
> the job they have been doing with their side-by-side project.  I am only
> just getting into the political part of this process having spent my time
> running my ORGANIC, and I will never stop using that term even though I
> have never been certified,

Aside from the Organic Rule's glaring anti-organic inclusions, OFPA as written will
NOT LET you use that term, once OFPA is implemented.  As I stated earlier, OFMA may
be good at pointing out the inconsistencies between OFPA and the Rule - but OFMA
supports OFPA as written and claims that implementing OFPA is the only solution to
the rules inconsistencies. *I* say that the Rules inconsistencies with OFPA and
OPFA's prohibiting YOU from doing what you say you WILL do, are part of the same
pattern, and that OFMA is deliberating deemphasing that.  I hope I am making myself
clear.  OFPA is NOT the solution, unless certification is NOT obligatory and the word
organic is NOT restricted to OFPA certified products.  OFMA says something quite
different.  And you will lose the freedom to do as you say you will do (and have
done) under it.

> ...  I have never felt that I needed some outside certifying agency to tell me how
> to steward my land and the USDA has certainly proven that they are unfit to
> even fantasize about telling me, and other actual growers, how to manage
> our processes.

 Once again, OFPA will not let you continue using the word organic unless you are
certified and your certifier is registered with the USDA and adheres to it's Rule.
And OFMA agrees to all that's in OFPA.

> I have no idea about the personality conflicts and egos
> involved in this process

Maybe you are right and there IS an element of this involved, but it is certainly NOT
at the bottom of my deep concern for avoiding what will be in store for anyone who
believes in the authenticity of his own understanding of what is organic, OFPA or no
OFPA, USDA or no USDA.  But the USDA will have nothing to say about it without OFPA,
and OFMA wants OFPA implemented as written.  Their quarrel is with the Rule only.  I
and others (Fred Kirshenmann, Bill Duesing, Daniel Worley, Laurence London, Sal,
Deborah Paulson and many others) say that the gravest danger is in the labeling
restrictions and the restrictions on our freedom of to transmit and receive pertinent
(to us) information.  There is a fundamental difference in positions.  If OFMA does a
good job critiquing the Rule but glosses over what is to me and many others the main
issue, we're not dealing mainly with egos here.

> but I do know that the government would love for
> us to squabble amongst ourselves over minor points and thus divert our
> energy away from the cogent task here which is to respond with as much
> vigor, passion, clarity, numbers, and courtesy that we can muster.

Fine - but what ARE the principle issues?  THAT'S the issue!

> Then the giant industries and lobbyists who are buying their way into our
> sanctified ground can get their wishes.  The only relevant question I can
> see at this point is "Are OFMA's analyses accurate and forceful enough?"

To me they are a distraction.  OFPA was built on false ground from the beginning.
All that's needed is a valid legal definition of what is and isn't organic (and OFMA
can be of real use there) with penalties for fraud - and leave the third party
certification issue to be determined by the buyer and seller.  This is so far from
the atmosphere that OFPA creates, that OFMA's simplistic focus on what is and what
isn't organic is simply misleading.  And I have nothing more to say at present. (Not
at 1 A.M. +).


Douglas M. Hinds, Director General
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR)
(Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit)
Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO
Tel. & Fax:  011 523 412 6308 (direct)
e-mail: cedecor at ipnet.com.mx, dmhinds at acnet.net, dhinds at ucol.mx

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