28. February 2017 · Comments Off on Is a rose by another name still “Organic” · Categories: Farm Thoughts
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It has come to our attention that some potential members have concerns that we are conventional rather than organic farmers. Perhaps this is because you do not see the word “organic” on our web site or brochure.

This is because the word “organic” has taken on a legal definition and is reserved only for those farms who have certified through an entity overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture, an agency of the Federal Government.

Oversight of organic programs by the Federal Government began just as we were beginning our farming operation. When this change occurred we made a choice not to certify, partly because of this change in oversight.

For a discussion independent of our personal interests, you may want to consult the Wikipedia article on organic certification, paying attention to the later sections covering “issues with organic certification.”

From our point of view, it is not that we disagree with certification, but feel in our situation it is an unnecessary expense and added burden. Our customers are welcome to come and see our practices and discuss them with us.

Like certified organic farmers we do not use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. In some ways we may be more “unconventional” than many organic farmers.  Organic certification does allow use of some “organic” pesticides.  So far in our operation we have not found this necessary.  Even with some of these organic pesticides, some non-pest species may be harmed.

Organic certification does not preclude the use of plastics. We do use some plastics, but try to limit our use.

Furthermore, organic certification does not address many of the social issues that agriculture involves. For example, organic certification does not address the conditions faced by farm laborers.  Jim and Diane are the only farm laborers on our farm, so you only have to worry about how we treat ourselves.

Certification may offer a seal of approval that we cannot. Before you cross our name and other “non-certified” CSAs off your list, be sure you have thought about what values you are looking for in a farm, and ask whether the farm in question, certified organic or not, meets your needs.  After all, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

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