[permaculture] [Fwd: Re: [SANET-MG] Organic Lies: Misconceptions of the United States Organic Act...]
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lflj at intrex.net
Tue Jul 29 02:23:55 EDT 2008
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Organic Lies: Misconceptions of the United States Organic Act...
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 23:16:04 -0500
From: Douglas Hinds <cedecor at GMX.NET>
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU
A few short comments regarding the pdf file for which Mr. Diver provide a
link earlier today:
The cultivation, purchase &/or consumption of Organic food crops was
originally motivated by:
1).- The validity of the concept - we are biological creatures and
both agriculture and digestion depend on a diverse range of
living biological processes;
2).- Health considerations based on freedom from harmful chemicals
and an increased presence of nutrients;
3).- Perceivable quality enhancements; and
4).- The growing consumer demand for organic fruits and vegetables,
based on all of the above.
On the other hand, the creation of OFPA was motivated by a desire to:
A).- Establish consistent national standards;
B).- Eliminate consumer fraud;
C).- Increase the presence of organic crops in the field and the
participation of organic products in the market; and
D).- Make Organic agriculture a main stream item through increased
However, rather than maintaining it's focus on the principles that
motivated the existence of Organic Food in the first place, OFPA
focused it's attention on controlling the Organic Market and
reserving the name recognition that had already been created by
organic growers, for those that adhered to the principle of
obligatory third party certification.
Intermediaries therefore, benefited to a much greater degree than
either farmers or consumers.
Were third party certification and governmental control over a
National Organic Program necessary adjuncts to accomplishing the
original goals of OFPA? I think not. Rather than resolve those
goals, new problems were created.
IAC, the file Mr. Diver refers to documents some of the incongruent
results of the decision to orient OFPA the way they did.
However - results not referred to in that document include:
Increasing the cost of organic farming in relation to conventional
Rather than propitiate a transition toward sustainable agriculture,
it drove a permanent wedge between organic and conventional crops;
It created an Organic Insider Elite;
It propitiated the entrance of corporate, industrial agriculture
entities in the organic market.
It reduced diversity;
Fomented mistrust towards farmers; and
Robbed farmers of their right to manifest their beliefs and
practices by monopolizing a word whose meaning was created by
organic farmers themselves, supported by the rest of the organic
food chain and the organic and health food publications, long before
the federal government had anything to do with it.
The purpose of my criticism here is not meant to suggest that
involving the federal government was itself a mistake but rather,
that the approach taken was inappropriate in relation to the principles
and spirit that gave rise to the creation of organic agriculture and
the organic market;
That is, it failed to fulfill the goals that motivated OFPA because
the approach was itself not organic but rather, piecemeal.
Instead, it created an organic police state mentality, controlled by
the governmental agencies and programs that should have supported
it, allowing the movement to be co-opted by those that didn't create
it and who weren't the original stake holders.
The existence of these discrepancies signifies a need that's still
there: Organic is far from the last Word and hopefully, the next one
will be better protected from the incongruities introduced by
outside and incompatible interests.
In short, the results OFPA produced were not those predicted by
those that supported it and the design of the Act itself was poorly
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