Why Certify Organic? Part 2
Last week I promised to address why I think certification works and why I think you should feel good about supporting farms who choose to certify.
So why do we do it? We believe in it. Yes, I agree it is sad our food system has gotten to a point that we (you and I) need a third party involved to promise you we grow clean food. But, honestly..Do you want to spend the time and energy reading the USDA Organic regulations and understanding how they apply to farms? The truth is, just because someone does not spray chemicals does not mean they are up to organic standards. There is a lot more involved! There are little things we sometimes don't think of that a certifying agency can point out. We can call them when we have a sick animal to see if there are any approved organic solutions to what the vet is telling us to do. If we do what the vet tells us to do and it is not up to OG standards, the animal gets de-certified. Don't worry, we don't think twice when it comes to a sick animal, we would rather save its life and prevent suffering then have an organic critter, but if there is an option we always go for the "most organic" one!
There are many folks out there trying to take advantage of the Organic standards for profit. Of course they are, we have a good thing going! And yes people do lie and use loopholes to certify things that should not be certified. I believe this happens most at the corporate level, not with small local farms. We have talked to Organic inspectors over the years, and these folks LOVE catching someone trying to sneak in. We have one friend who looks in garbage cans if he suspects foul play! I believe Organic inspectors are committed to keeping food clean.
The small farms who choose to certify are not looking for loopholes. They are looking for integrity. The folks who choose not to certify, but want to call their products Organic ARE looking to make a profit off of something they can't claim.
And what have Jed and I learned about farms claiming to grow things organically but choosing not to certify? Most don't know the rules or are telling you what you want to hear.
- We know of one farm who tells folks they grow organically, but have asked volunteers to spray the area around the garden with herbicides. A 25' buffer zone is required to prevent drift. Do you want volunteers who don't know how to spray chems spraying close to your veggies?
- We know of another farm who would make the claim, but leave plastic mulch in the field every year because they didn't want to throw it out yes, I get the point of keeping things out of the waste stream, but leaving plastic mulch in the field is not up to OG standards because it contaminates the soil.
- Other folks say their animals are grown organically, but they are exposed to pressure treated lumber around their barns and structures.
- Notice the boxes produce is transported in. Is it in boxes reused from conventional growers? Some produce is treated with chemicals right before or after they are put in boxes, reusing boxes used by non-organic produce is a violation of OG standards.
- I have only met one farmer who read all the Organic standards before deciding to get certified. Prior to reading he thought he was almost certifiable and liked to tell that to people. He didn't follow through because he realized he was going to have change his whole farm after reading the requirements.
Featured Meat of the Week: Sirloin Butt Steak
Sirloin steaks are great for making kabobs! There are hundreds of recipes online. We are getting into the season with veggies that are chunky enough to grill! Make a marinade of your choice, cut up some steaks, squash tomatoes and garlic for grilling! Our Sirloins are $13/pound.
WASH YOUR VEGGIES!!
Whole and Half pigs for sale. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
Bring Bags to pick-ups!
If you can't make it to pick up your veggies, send a friend!
Missed shares are forfeited for the week.
Members get 20% off at the Farmer's Markets!
The Driggs Market, The People's Market and Jackson Saturday Market