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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:15 AM

"Organic" Farming and the True Cost of Food-A Small Farmers Perspective

I am writing this post in response to a GD thread about the price of "organic" food which included a quote by Joel Salatin. I was taken aback by some of the misinformed posts about "organic" food and its costs.

I am so sorry that the word "organic" has been co-opted by corporate America. Reading some of the posts that were dismissive of organic food led me to believe that the only contact that some people had with the organic and sustainable food movement came from folks whose only interaction with the local food movement comes from a visit to Whole Foods or the labels they read in a grocery store.

That's a pity because they are really missing out on what the true organic food movement is all about. So when they look at organic, they only see price. And while the price of food is a very legitimate concern, there is so much more to that woeful term "organic" than meets the eye.

A little about me. My wife and I have been farming commercially for the past 8 year with the last 2 being full-time. We raise organic vegetables, fruits and herbs in addition to having a flock of laying hens and periodically raising hormone free and organic poultry. In addition to our actual farming endeavors, we have been fully immersed in the local food movement. We have had a hand in starting and advising many towns on how to start farmers markets. Where there was only one farmers market in our county when we started, there are now close to 10. I mentor young and beginning farmers and am active in advocating for policies that can help local farmers in our state.

I am a DU fan because I see the outrage when Mitt Romney tells half the country they are nothing but useless moochers. But I get dismayed when I see blanket statements made about organic farmers being ripoff artists and our efforts being painted as nothing but a scam upon the American consumer. True, there have been some miscreants who operate under the banner of pure food production. And in many cases, these problems are being promulgated by the very corporate interests that cause so many problems in other areas. But just as the right wing would extrapolate a single case of welfare fraud into the face of Cadillac driving welfare queens, so too have these bad apples come to represent the face of what the organic food movement is all about

The overwhelming majority of farmers who practice organic and sustainable food production are small and ,many times, family owned farms. Increasingly we are idealistic young people or folks transitioning from corporate America who saw little social value in their work. We are not trying to feed the whole world, just our small part of it. And enough of us are successful, we will make a difference in the health and well-being of our communities. I think that is something that should be applauded not derided.

There are 2 certifying bodies in the world of organic production: USDA Organic and Certified Naturally Grown. And the overwhelming majority of the farmers receiving these certifications are small farms with small acreage: Anywhere from one to twenty in many cases. We receive little government assistance compared to large corporate farming operations. In fact, the little money that is allocated towards organic and sustainable farmers is ALWAYS a target in the farm bill process. Over the past several years. I have seen entire budgetary line items dedicated to sustainable farming practices wiped out while subsidies to the big guys go untouched. Think about that the next time you're tempted to complain about the price of so-called "organic" food.

Chances are that if your only encounter with organic and sustainably grown food is through Whole Foods or your local grocery store, then you are most likely dealing with an outfit that has the scope and scale of a conventional factory farming operation. Most organic farmers cannot make the financial investment to even qualify to sell our food through those venues. Between liability insurance requirements, HAACP plans and packing and shipping regulations, most small farmers, ourselves included opt to sell directly to the consumer. And trust me, even if you were a small farmer that were selling to a grocery chain, you are not seeing as much of that $6.00 a pound price from tomatoes that you should be.

And when complaints are raised about the so-called sky high price of organic food, I have to laugh to myself because I know that the people doing the complaining have absolutely no idea of the uneven regulatory playing field that is put before the small farmer. A chicken in a factory farm can be raised in the most inhumane conditions and whisked through a butchering assembly line in seconds in a factory that is self inspected by the company doing the processing. Yet a small poultry producer raising pastured birds in a humane setting free of hormones and antibiotics has to jump through all kinds of hypocritical hoops to process his birds on farm, if the state regulations allow them to be processed at all. Want to talk about why small farms MIGHT have higher prices? Then make sure you factor in the higher hoops that farmer might have to jump through vis-a-vis the corporate food chain.

Many of the farmers who grow organically have pricing that is fairly competitive with corporate farms. The difference is we choose to sell in venues where we can keep more of our money. So we choose to sell off farm, at farmers markets and through CSAs. Wal-Mart has their margin objectives and their commitment to local food notwithstanding, they intend to hit those targets. So think about that next time you look at the price of organic food in a market and paint the vast majority of organic farmers as price gouging moochers. There are 2 sides to the pricing discussion; An affordable price for the consumer and a living wage for the farmer. Too many people who rail about the former often neglect the latter.

But the organic and sustainable food movement is about more than price. You know the current push to get food into underserved communities? That's overwhelmingly being led by local and organic farmers. Corporate America is just waking up to it because they finally realize they can make a buck at it. To quote a line from Diehard "Welcome to the Party Pals"

The explosion in the growth of farmers markets throughout the country over the past 5 years? Headed up by "organic" and sustainable farmers, dedicated community activists and enlightened city planners who have tired of seeing their downtowns die because of big box stores. The push to get food into so-called food deserts? Spearheaded by a determined cadre of urban farmers looking to address problems at the source. I always chuckle at people who rail against the price of "organic" food at the supermarket that seem to forget that the very people they are so concerned might be priced out of buying fresh wholesome food are totally oblivious to the fact that many of these folks don't even have a store selling fresh produce anywhere remotely close to them. And you know who has been working to change this? Local food advocates. And many of them happen to be "organic" farmers.

Google FMPP and look at the push to get EBT benefits accepted at local farmers markets. And then Google Wholesome Wave, a program that doubles the value of dollars spent at local farmers markets. Guess what? These successful efforts to increase access to fresh, wholesome food have been championed by farmers that self identify as organic or sustainable farmers. Most of us have other priorities other than how much we can get for our food. We are passionate about what we do and know that we will certainly never get rich doing what we do. But that's part of the point. True organic farming is about more than how much our profit margin is at the end of the year. It's about being good stewards of the land, making sure that all of the residents in our community have access to good food and maintaining the genetic diversity of our agricultural sector.

As I said before, I'm so sorry that the word organic has been hijacked by corporate interests. The same thing is slowly starting to happen to "sustainability" So I am going to chalk up a lot of the ignorance on that thread simply to a lack of knowledge. Joel Salatin was called an elitist, asshole in that thread by someone who obviously doesn't know the yeomans work that he has done in helping a lot of small farmers get their food into underserved communities. His work alone in the area on on farm poultry processing has helped a lot of states develop regulations that make this activity viable, safe and legal for many small farms.

So the next time you are tempted to speak derisively about the so-called "organic" movement, make sure you are speaking from an informed position. Because if you were, you would understand that the movement is much more than price comparisons. The work we do is being conducted all across the country by unsung heroes who are operating in the true progressive values held so dear by the members of DU

Don't buy into the corporate bullshit-Support Small Farmers and Local Food Activists. Organic is more than a label.

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Reply "Organic" Farming and the True Cost of Food-A Small Farmers Perspective (Original post)
BronxBoy Nov 2012 OP
xchrom Nov 2012 #1
6502 Nov 2012 #114
6502 Nov 2012 #115
quaker bill Nov 2012 #116
gollygee Nov 2012 #128
quaker bill Nov 2012 #141
fasttense Nov 2012 #117
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #120
6502 Nov 2012 #137
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #122
6502 Nov 2012 #139
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #142
KurtNYC Nov 2012 #126
tama Nov 2012 #146
tama Nov 2012 #145
MuseRider Nov 2012 #2
5X Nov 2012 #3
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #5
freshwest Nov 2012 #28
Voice for Peace Nov 2012 #4
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #11
Voice for Peace Nov 2012 #39
countmyvote4real Nov 2012 #6
kalli007 Nov 2012 #7
Arctic Dave Nov 2012 #8
randr Nov 2012 #9
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #68
marlakay Nov 2012 #10
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #15
marlakay Nov 2012 #23
2naSalit Nov 2012 #29
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #42
paleotn Nov 2012 #26
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #41
Kali Nov 2012 #135
bunnies Nov 2012 #12
Tuesday Afternoon Nov 2012 #13
OneGrassRoot Nov 2012 #14
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #17
Greybnk48 Nov 2012 #16
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #18
Greybnk48 Nov 2012 #130
Sancho Nov 2012 #19
bitchkitty Nov 2012 #20
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #25
obamanut2012 Nov 2012 #21
XtopherXtopher Nov 2012 #22
niyad Nov 2012 #24
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #27
laundry_queen Nov 2012 #31
FlaGranny Nov 2012 #127
Caretha Nov 2012 #30
2naSalit Nov 2012 #32
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #47
proverbialwisdom Nov 2012 #33
Warpy Nov 2012 #34
proverbialwisdom Nov 2012 #38
proverbialwisdom Nov 2012 #35
Zorra Nov 2012 #36
fasttense Nov 2012 #37
kurtzapril4 Nov 2012 #45
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #53
antigone382 Nov 2012 #71
Marrah_G Nov 2012 #40
roody Nov 2012 #43
JNelson6563 Nov 2012 #44
Richard D Nov 2012 #46
2naSalit Nov 2012 #89
UCmeNdc Nov 2012 #48
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #49
bvar22 Nov 2012 #58
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #63
bvar22 Nov 2012 #69
Patiod Nov 2012 #132
bvar22 Nov 2012 #134
tama Nov 2012 #147
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #50
RoccoR5955 Nov 2012 #51
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #56
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #52
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #54
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #55
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #60
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #62
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #65
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #92
obamanut2012 Nov 2012 #83
obamanut2012 Nov 2012 #82
trailmonkee Nov 2012 #57
pinto Nov 2012 #59
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #61
blackspade Nov 2012 #64
lunasun Nov 2012 #66
Gormy Cuss Nov 2012 #67
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #72
bigtree Nov 2012 #70
truedelphi Nov 2012 #73
Patiod Nov 2012 #133
wisechoice Nov 2012 #74
rainin Nov 2012 #75
obamanut2012 Nov 2012 #84
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #90
MuseRider Nov 2012 #76
emsimon33 Nov 2012 #77
Cha Nov 2012 #78
kentauros Nov 2012 #79
drokhole Nov 2012 #95
kentauros Nov 2012 #105
drokhole Nov 2012 #110
kentauros Nov 2012 #111
drokhole Nov 2012 #143
quakerboy Nov 2012 #80
DonCoquixote Nov 2012 #81
Silent3 Nov 2012 #85
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #86
Silent3 Nov 2012 #97
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #101
KT2000 Nov 2012 #87
Silent3 Nov 2012 #96
KT2000 Nov 2012 #102
Silent3 Nov 2012 #104
KT2000 Nov 2012 #106
wisechoice Nov 2012 #112
wisechoice Nov 2012 #91
Silent3 Nov 2012 #94
drokhole Nov 2012 #88
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #98
hue Nov 2012 #93
Red Mountain Nov 2012 #99
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #100
womanofthehills Nov 2012 #103
Pharaoh Nov 2012 #107
AmyDeLune Nov 2012 #108
spaulettea Nov 2012 #109
6502 Nov 2012 #113
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #119
6502 Nov 2012 #138
klook Nov 2012 #118
nadine_mn Nov 2012 #121
BronxBoy Nov 2012 #124
nadine_mn Nov 2012 #136
revolution breeze Nov 2012 #123
myrna minx Nov 2012 #125
gollygee Nov 2012 #129
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 #131
trailmonkee Nov 2012 #140
tama Nov 2012 #144

Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:19 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 05:04 AM

114. [AGAIN]=> Nice excuse for pricing food too high...


... for actual working people.

(You can read the original here http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021878760#post16 , too... keep reading).

Funny, I was talking about this with a farmer friend of mine (his family runs a big dairy).

His family used to produce milk and to a local cheese factory which sold cheese in this area.

Both his farm and the cheese factory employed local people, but the pay was not high... it was only what you would pay working folks who work in those operations.

Well, some big size cheese operation in an entirely different part of the country began selling cheese in his area.
The cheese was a lot cheaper.
The big operation used its size and location to source milk from many sources around it in a bulk fashion that made all of its milk purchases mad cheap. Then on top of that, because their materials cost and production costs were lower per unit (due to their scale), they could afford to transport their cheese across the country to my friends town.

Working families can't afford to make the choice of paying 50% more for the local cheese than the stuff from the big operation. The lower price lets them afford other things their kids need.

The result:

* The local cheese factory shut down, meaning local cheese factory jobs lost.
* Without the cheese factory, my friend lost a big customer... had to lay off staff and switch to automation to keep things profitable.
* Everybody had cheaper cheese... both the people who still had jobs and the folks who didn't.

My friend says the situation sucks all over... but there is no easy solution.

It's really hard to convince regular working people and the poor to pay more when they have so many priorities to manage... when every penny counts they have to make every penny count.

We can't ask them to pay more like that.
My friend is a farmer who does environmental stuff on the mad scale (we looked at the two farms that are in the family via Google Earth... yeah... that mad scale)... and they couldn't win against a big corp.

And frankly, the only folks I see affording to pay 50%, double, or triple for free-range fair-trade whatever are people who have enough extra money to afford to drink $5 lattes with their $5 slice of cake any day of the week and not have to work weekends.

You know: people who already have money.

And frankly, I can't afford it either.

When the eco-farmers get together and make their stuff affordable for me, I'll be there.

But, I'm not holding my breath.

I already have a farmer friend who laments this same thing... and he can't see how he could ask the people around him to pay more.

Note on my friends farm: They totally an entire circle of life operations. They grown the feed for the cows, chickens and pigs. Has a really incredible map of how he takes the inputs of some systems and feed them into others and how he times extraction of resources to feed other systems. He totally runs no inputs from the outside world. So, this is not some lightweight we're talking about with just 100 or 200 head of cattle here.

So, I'm sticking to my imported beef.
In my case, here in Japan, I was able to buy American beef just this weekend for less than half the price of Japanese beef. It was imported into Japan... from America... by Walmart.

(Yes... I found the irony a mind blower, too).

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Response to 6502 (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 05:25 AM

115. [ANOTHER THING]=>You are not Progressives...

This is a serious point.

I NEVER see any of these "organics" or "naturals" or whatever they call themselves ever working together to create alternatives that are AFFORDABLE FOR WORKING PEOPLE!!!!

You and all of you "organic" and "naturals" and such are not progressives!!

The only thing I see you doing if you show up at a progressive or liberal event is peddle your overpriced granola, chocolates, free range eggs raised next to hydroponically grown pigs!

Jesus Christ on a Tricycle!!!

Chickens are chickens!!!

And for working people, the $0.99 big bag of chicken legs is a much better deal than your free range $3 a drumstick overpriced God knows what that NO WORKING PEOPLE COULD AFFORD!!!

You and your kind are not Progressives... you are not Liberals.

Liberals and Progressives create solutions that work for the poor and working class.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #115)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:22 AM

116. The answer is not cheap food

The answer is that we find a way to stop subsidizing poverty wage employment. Mega retail and fast food pays wages so low that large portions of their employees must be subsidized by government with block grant housing, SNAP, WIC, TANF... These folks need cheap food, which is kept cheap by federal ag programs to control prices at taxpayer expense.

The actual solution for poor and working class folks is not spending taxpayer dollars to keep the cost of food down, but bringing wages up. You cannot spend enough taxpayer dollars to keep the cost of everything low. It is far easier to require higher wages than it is to collect and appropriate taxes to make up the difference.

This is the bit that the RW never gets, if they really want to end the "culture of dependency", the only real answer is a living wage. Anything else is smoke and mirrors.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #116)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:38 AM

128. Best post in thread!

There were other good posts but I give you my personal gold star for best.

The problem is not that ANYTHING is not cheap enough. Making anything cheaper means the people making it will also live in poverty. The problem is that anyone willing to work and working should be making a living wage. If we hadn't been reducing the wages of working people (and to a lesser extent middle class people) over the past few decades, this woudn't be a problem. But this is now a circular problem. We make stuff cheaper so low-wage earners can afford it, but that means the people making and selling the stuff have to have their wages made even lower, which means that stuff has to be priced lower yet so people can afford it, which means that the people making and selling it need their wages reduced yet further . . . and so on.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #128)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 03:56 PM

141. One could call it

circling around the economic drain.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #115)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:35 AM

117. You are an example of what this poster is complaining about.

You say we small farmers are not progressive? Do you know how many free range eggs we donate to the food banks every year? Do you know how much of our produce we give away to soup kitchens?

Do you know that those 99 cents a lb chicken legs are pumped full of salt water? up to a third. So that .99 cents a pound you are paying is actually going for water. Do you know your government tax dollars go to subsidies big corporate farms. So, that $4.00 a pound ground beef, or pink slime, is subsidies by your tax dollars. If they had to compete on a fair playing field, their ground beef prices would triple. So in the end you are paying a whole lot more for the cheap food, you just don't know it.

When we went to get our $50 permit from the state, in order to sell eggs we were turned down because we had a fish tank with a gold fish in our study. Every single egg sold from within the state gets inspected but all those out of state cheap, cheap eggs are rarely inspected, that's why that factory in Iowa had to recall it's contaminated eggs. They had NOT been inspected in over 5 years and had to recall over 250 million dozen eggs in 25 states. Yet a small farmer can't sell an egg because they have a goldfish tank in their study.

Chickens are NOT chickens, not when your tax dollars go to paying off the corporate chicken farm to abuse his flock and then pump them full of arsenic and antibiotics so that those cheap eggs you are eating are slowly making you sick.

We pay our part time farm workers $10 an hour, while corporations are using illegal labor at $3.00 an hour. Tells us again how we are NOT liberal.

I could go on about how we have no waste to dump into our rivers and we do NOT pollute our country, I could tell you how your tax dollars go to the rich corporate farmer while trampling on the small farmers, I could go on and on but I have a farm to run and I'm already late with my morning chores.

So, before you slur every small farmer in the country, maybe you should look at the whole process of what is involved in our food system and know your subject matter.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #117)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:46 AM

120. Thank You

I answered him below.....

Kobe Beef and "eco-farmers"

Tells me all I need to know

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #120)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:10 PM

137. [PLEASE]=> Please, you're making stuff up...

It's only your opinion and a few anecdotes.
(And the use of the logical fallicy of pathos.)

(You're lying about me and Kobe Beef.
Now we have proof you lie to serve your cause.

P.S.
I deal with you below, too.
Read it after you read the rest of this comment.)


But you can't prove on the grand scale that your case is real.

The very thesis of the other OP that you allude to that started it all -- and the anti-threads -- was that organic and this stuff does in fact cost more.

(Folks, see for yourself: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021878760)

Your just peddling the same overpriced food without the inconveniece of that OP and its image of that fellow outing you.

That OP outs you.

And your impossibly long post serves to cloud the issue.

DU is not Fox News.
Your entitled to your opinion...
... but you are not entitled to your own facts.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #115)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:55 AM

122. Wow....

How do you know what I am?

I'm doing more work in this arena to assist poor and working class people than you probably are. You know nothing about me. You don't know where I sell, who my customers are, what my pricing is and yet you can insult me without knowing one iota about me or the other people who I work with.

Do us all a favor and educate yourself. But I guess you find it more productive to jump on anonymous board and insult anyone who doesn't adopt your worldview.

Piss off!

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #122)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:50 PM

139. [LINK]=> Your answer (and outing) is here...

Caught you lying about me...

Read about it here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021879438#post137

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Response to 6502 (Reply #139)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 04:11 PM

142. Oh lord, he's not lying. He merely misread your post which

wasn't difficult to do given it's rambling incoherence.

He read it that you live in the U.S. and eat Japanese imported beef. Rather than what you were trying to write; that is, you live in Japan and eat imported Walmart beef.

Most DUers, when misunderstood, take the time to explain civilly . Most DUers don't immediately toss out accusations of lying.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #115)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:25 AM

126. Why do factory chickens have amonia burns on them?

You seem perfectly willing to ignore all the ramifications of cheap food and then YOU turn around and decide who is "progressive" based on your selfish perspective. No one is going to take away your factory chicken -- we are just creating choice. A real solution for poor and working families would protect THEIR health directly as well as the health of farm animals and the greater environment.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #115)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:24 PM

146. In the hierarchy of dependencies

 

organic farmers etc. primary producers don't need urban "working class" consumers to keep on living, but urban secondary and tertiary producers need primary producers to keep on living. And the "liberal and progressive" urban wage slave class standard policy is to bite the hand that feeds it.

During Russian revolution "progressive" Bolshevik Leninist urban factory workers betrayed and massacred their rural anarchist comrades - who had been feeding urban people for free when they had no money and nothing to barter, and a terrible famine followed.

As corporate elites should not be dictating how teachers should teach, as those who do the work know best, dependent consumer classes of urban "progressives and liberals" cannot teach and should not dictate people who take care of the land and feed other people how to do their work.

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Response to 6502 (Reply #114)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:10 PM

145. Move to Detroit

 

to pick free veggies from community gardens...

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:38 AM

2. Very well said.

Thank you for this post.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:40 AM

3. Good for you.

Love Joel Salatin, he does great work.

k and r.

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Response to 5X (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:48 AM

5. Thank You

While I love the work that people like Joel Salatin and Michael Pollan have done in advancing the cause of local and sustainable food, I think it has become a double edged sword.

One thing I didn't mention in the OP is that I am a Black American. Unfortunately, the organic and local food movements have been perceived as an affluent and White movement. I think this has led many folks to write off organic efforts as the provence of latte drinking hippies. But their is a LOT of work being done by organic activists in communities of color. Work that often goes unseen and unsung. But work that is ironically written off as elitist by the very people who claim to want to help the underserved

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:01 PM

28. I've always grown organic and eaten it when I can get it. You're doing something very important, and

I think the propaganda about organic being elitist is just that, propaganda from those who don't want to deal with the entire circle of life, only the maximum in profits and speed.

I am glad too that you mentioned your race, another myth that needs to be dispelled. I am so impressed with what you are describing having done, although I know the life you lead is the reward you seek, still I cannot help but thank you for speaking so eloquently on saving lives, because that is what you are doing, from top to bottom.

Thank You. For who and what you are and what you are doing.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:48 AM

4. Thank you!

I'm 100% behind you, and increasingly will buy only local
and organic. Yes organic's more expensive, but to me it's
completely worth it. I just eat less, and more consciously,
and don't waste food, EVER, if I can help it.

Just ignore the voices of ignorance -- it's not everyone
here. In my opinion, the efforts of people like you guys
are an important piece of fixing our world and it needs
to happen quickly.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:00 AM

11. Thank You

And thank you for stressing LOCAL. I think that the arguments about the benefits about organic food have become muddied the waters. People overlook the benefits of locally produced food whether it is produced organically or not.

Just as Wal-Mart has destroyed the viability of many local business, so has the rise of corporate farming destroyed the viability of small farms.

Most of the people I know who labor in this area don't let negative talk affect them. You couldn't succeed in this business if we did. But I just had to answer some mis-perceptions on what is supposed to be a discussion forum dedicated to progressive values

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:41 PM

39. please, please keep speaking up. The misinformation seeps into even the informed, and

creates doubts. The common sense of it gets lost.

I think disease and time are going to help make the
case.

It all becomes more obvious as it shows up in human
health. The more poisons people consume the sooner
they will become mortally poisoned. Some days, when I
am out and about, I see poisoned people everywhere
on the street, it's very sad. It shows in their eyes, skin,
smells, breath, scars, grayness. I want to take them all
to an organic farm somewhere and drop them off.

Nature is the bountiful compassionate physician. Thank
you again for your voice and your choice of lifestyle and --
how fortunate you are.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:49 AM

6. Bravo

K&R

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:50 AM

7. Organic practices have a FAR reaching effect, not just what goes in your mouth.

The amount of damage that is done to the earth and biosphere as a result of commercial farming is tremendous. I am a supporter of local, organic practices because I am a supporter of the earth.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:51 AM

8. K&R

 

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:56 AM

9. Thanks for setting the record straight!

As an "organic' farmer for several years I am aware of the misconceptions people have. We are fortunate to sell directly from our farm. Our people have the opportunity to experience the wholesomeness of a loving relationship with the earth as they become part of the equation.
I urge all DUer's to seek out an organic source for your food and be a part of the healing of our planet.

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Response to randr (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:09 PM

68. I know what you mean...

I'm sure you take a lot of pride in providing good food to people and helping them make that connection between their plate and the land no matter how much money they have.

I'll never forget a 30 year old sista visiting our farm and remarking to herself that she had never seen lettuce growing before.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:57 AM

10. Great post I appreciate the info

I live rurally and love my farmers market in the summer. Where is the best place to buy rest of the year if you live in the mountains?

From what you say, sounds like most organic from say Safeway is corporate...

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Response to marlakay (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:09 AM

15. Thank You....

Depends on what mountains you are in.

Here in Georgia, people in the mountains can get access to local food because of our climate and season extension technique. If you are in Maine, different story entirely.

But here is another area where small farmers are at a decided disadvantage. Most small farmers need to produce what's known as "value-added" products. In a nutshell, this is taking a product grown on farm and turning it into something else. A fresh tomato into canned sauce or summer squash that is flash frozen for example.

Most successful small farms have some sort of value added products such as jams or jellies because the higher price they command can help us hold the line on fresh produce prices.

However, the infrastructure to do this in a legally safe manner is woefully lacking in many states and this has stymied the growth of local food in many areas such as farm to school and restaurant sales The local food movement has recognized this and there are efforts across the country to address this issue.

But a lot of the seed money to do this is in the miniscule amount of money that is allocated n the farm bill for sustainable farms which as I stated is always a fat target in budget negotiations.

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:36 AM

23. We have lots of local jams and jellies sold

Year round. I live in leavenworth, WA which is half way between Seattle and Spokane 3 hrs to either one.

I live in the country of a small Bavarian tourist town. It took many many years for our farmers market to be what it is today in the summer thriving with lots of booths.

I shop a lot in Wenatchee also at Costco.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:03 PM

29. Mountain local

I live in the northern Rockies and it's hard to grow many items at 7,000ft. But it can be done, and if you have the space, a small greenhouse will do. Also, since you have access to good, quality farmer's market goods, start buying more and canning everything you can. I have survived by doing that for years, sure it's not crispy fresh spinach and all but you still have the satisfaction of knowing where the ingredients came from and it will save you trips to the next large town to buy high priced, out of season foods, you'll still get more nutritional value out of your home canned goods.

Also, should you choose to go the greenhouse route, I suggest purchasing seeds from specific sources that specialize in organic seed. http://secure.seedstrust.com/ is a good place to get seeds, they are organic, provide you with seed collections guides and offer seeds for vegetables that have been developed for high altitudes and higher latitudes. There are others but so far I have been acquiring from this source. It's well worth the initial investment if you can swing it.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:47 PM

42. People don't realize...

how much time and effort it takes to get a farmers market up and running and to keep it sustainable. Unless you are in a prime area, it takes several years.

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Response to marlakay (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:49 AM

26. Bronxboy is correct....

the vast majority of organic product you see in chain grocery stores, as well as Whole "Paycheck", Earth Fare, etc., is corporatized organic food. It didn't take long for the food industry to figure out they could make incredible profits from organics. Name any organic brand, and chances are very high it's a subsidiary of General Mills, Cargill or some other multinational food monolith. Today, the industrial food producers control organic production to the point where THEY now decide what "organic" is and what it isn't.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/business/organic-food-purists-worry-about-big-companies-influence.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=acc73&pagewanted=all

All is not lost however. As Bronx wrote, real organic food at reasonable prices does exist at your local farmers markets or CSA. It may be a bit more than conventional produce from a chain store, but it's local, produced by someone you can meet and chat with and is far better for you and the environment.

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Response to paleotn (Reply #26)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:45 PM

41. Sadly....

as we post here, the same thing is about to be done with the term "Sustainable" I know for a fact that there is an international working group that is working to develop standards as to what constitutes "Sustainable". You can only imagine the major players that involved in that effort.

While I hope the results don't go the way the term "organic" has gone, I have my gut feelings.

There is a well known farmer in this area who, after several years of seeking various certifications for his production decided he would no longer do so. His reasoning was simple. He felt that the consumer was an important link in the local food connection and that too many consumers used the organic label as a crutch instead of taking the responsibility to know who produces their food and educating themselves.

I have mixed emotions about that. I get his point but how many of your typical consumers have the time to do that. That's why a lot of producers feel a major part of our job besides the production of food is consumer education.

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:04 AM

135. yeah the regs are designed to shut the (small) competition down

I know some folks selling organic/natural beef, they blew off the certification bs and have an open operation. their customers know how the ranch is run (and many have volunteered time there) so they know what they are buying. It is a trust relationship developed between the grower and the consumer that no govt regulation or corporate co-opting of language can ever duplicate.

I raise beef cattle in a totally natural way (no antibiotics in feed, no hormones etc) but still sell to conventional buyers. The work involved in doing this with meat is more than I can handle. Between the regulations and the extra time involved I haven't been able to make that step, although we have sold the occasional live animal to individuals and to the types of operations like my friends mentioned above.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:02 AM

12. Wish I could rec this a hundred times.

Thank you for this post.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:03 AM

13. K&R. thanks for posting.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:08 AM

14. Thank you! I was searching for locavore and food justice movements...

to align with and stumbled upon two cool links I thought I'd share here:

http://www.urbangardenshare.org/

http://www.farmtoschool.org/ (hopefully this program will evolve to focus more on organic; perhaps they already are but it just isn't stated explicitly)



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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:13 AM

17. Thank You

While most organizations involved in this work have a bias towards organic and sustainable production, many of them recognize that the immediate need to get fresh, affordable food into underserved areas even if it means incorporating conventional production into their operations.

One of the reasons I think you see such an emphasis on organic and sustainable production in urban agriculture is because, in many cases, there is nothing there to begin with. So it's easier to introduce organic methods and work towards producing it at an affordable baseline

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:10 AM

16. Well said.

Joel Salatin is one of my new heroes, BTW. I must have missed the thread that is referenced. I can't imagine any informed person calling Salatin, one who's been on the front lines with this, an elitist or an asshole. Sad.

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Response to Greybnk48 (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:15 AM

18. Here's a link...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1878760

And I did follow up as to why the poster said that hoping to engage them on why I though this wasn't a valid opinion. Could have been the nature of the quote

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 09:06 AM

130. Went and had a look.

I don't think the poster could have defended their comment, which to me was baseless and irrational. Thanks for responding.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:22 AM

19. thanks the post!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:26 AM

20. Wonderful post!

Thank you for this - it makes me feel better. I was not aware of many of these things.

I went 100% vegan several months ago (much to the delight of my body, LOL). I try to eat organic as much as possible but am in one of those underserved places - even though I live across the street from a grocery store, their organic selections are paltry and expensive. Wish I lived near you!

When I next move, I intend to have a garden, even if it's just a square foot garden on a patio.

Thanks again for the post. Very inspiring!

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Response to bitchkitty (Reply #20)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:43 AM

25. One of the major components....

of the local food movement is the development and growth of community gardens.

Let's face it, organic production or not, organic farming is a business. And like any business, it needs to make enough money to sustain itself. A farmer, np matter how well intentioned and no matter how pure the motives, needs to make money to care for his family, pay the basics of life and so forth. But in some instances, this need runs counter to what the community can afford to pay. This is where the collectivist ideals behind community gardens are very useful.

But once again, the roadblocks put in the way of community gardens run counter to serving the community. Entrenched zoning laws are the number one obstacle to the growth of urban agriculture in many areas of the country

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:26 AM

21. Organic trends have saved many a small farm

Including people I know quite well, who have started CSAs.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:35 AM

22. The Organic and Local food movement is so vital to our future.

So many reasons why this post is awesome.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:36 AM

24. k and r for this most excellent post. I find that, whenever there is a positive OP or post about

organic, sustainable, local food movements, I can count almost to the second when the pro-corporate types chime in.

During the summer in our very short growing season, I am fortunate to have a farmers' market very close to me, and will only purchase veggies and things from them, knowing that what I purchase there is part of the movement, whether or not they have the organic label (some simply will not jump through those hoops, and I don't blame them) Alas, the rest of the time, I have to rely on the supermarket, which is at least appearing to do a lot with local producers. wish I had my own greenhouse!

thank you for all you, and others like you, are doing to get our food back to being actual food, and a viable and absolutely necessary part of the community.

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Response to niyad (Reply #24)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:53 AM

27. Yes.

One of the things that irks me to no end is when people dismiss the organic and sustainable food movements by saying "Organics will never feed the world"

We can argue for hours about that but here's the thing. No one I know who believes as I do is saying that we can feed the world. We're just saying that a prudent worldview says that there should be a mix of production practices with an aim towards increasing local production. This is no different than the argument that we should invest in alternative technologies to reduce and mitigate our reliance on fossil fuels.

As far as extended year round production, the USDA is looking at ways to address that issue and actually have some pretty cool programs in place. But unfortunately, many of these programs are developed with a "commodity" type farmer in mind and are often not accessible to many farmers

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #27)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:08 PM

31. Can I just say

I've enjoyed every single one of your posts regarding this subject. Thank you for what you do. Wish I could recommend this thread a million times.

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:31 AM

127. Organics HAVE fed the world

for millions of years. When I was younger, I had a couple of horses, and a nearly organic vegetable garden. I say nearly organic, because I doubt the horses' feed was organic. Every fall, the yard cleanup went into the garden and in early spring it was turned into the soil with aged manure. I had bumper crops, especially of tomatoes, which we shared with the whole neighborhood. When they saw how my garden grew, they would come up the road with their wheelbarrows to "borrow" manure. True organic farming could feed the world again, but it is more labor intensive and thus more expensive for farmers who must hire farmhands. Smaller, shared community organic gardens and farms can do a good job.

Edit to add - actually organics have fed the world for "billions" of years.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:06 PM

30. Thank you BronxBoy

This is exactly what I was hoping for. Someone with intimate knowledge of sustainable/organic farming telling it like it is.

Kudos!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:09 PM

32. Thanks for your post

even though I live in the most rural of places, we share the same soapbox. Congrats on your successes and thnk you for sharing and keeping this conversation going.

My favorite quip that I use at the end of such conversations is: It's the biosphere, stupid.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #32)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:07 PM

47. I am so glad you mentioned rural........

One of the things that saddens me about the framing of the whole organic conversation is how rural communities are increasingly being left out of this conversation. And if anything, they face twice the problems that underserved urban areas may face.

As gung ho as I am about this issue, I must admit I had certain misperceptions about rural communities. One of those was that if you lived in an rural community, by default you had access to fresh food. But many of my colleagues in the organic and local food movement quickly disabused me of that stupid notion. Many rural communities may have the land but may not have the resources to farm it effectively. And these communities are more likely to not have access to large chain stores than can fill in gaps in their diets than those in urban areas. I think it's really ironic that some of the most fertile states in the US have some of the most abysmal quality of life statistics in the country.

The second major problem for rural communities is that many of them are farming communities that can't even begin to take advantage of the growing organic movement even if they wanted to. They are too far removed from the urban markets where they can make decent margins on their crops by going direct to consumer and the prices they can get for crops are typically commodity driven with low margins. And there is a process of educating a lot of small conventional farmers that there are viable crops other than corn, soybeans and peanuts

A major concern among rural communities is the population drain of folks moving to urban centers to make money. The organic and sustainable movements are increasingly trying to deal with this disconnect through a variety of means.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:09 PM

33. I've bookmarked your terrific post to read when I have more time than I do today.

Meanwhile, a comment.

Yesterday after reading here that Chelsea Clinton was blocked by NBC from making an ad supporting gay marriage, I had a hunch she might also have an informed opinion about California's Prop 37 (witness her 'organic vegan wedding' and her MPH degree). No luck finding confirmation, but I did discover a great new website via this article:

http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/an-unexpected-cure-for-chronic-disease/#.ULJK5Wt5mK0

An Unexpected Cure For Chronic Disease

Last year my friend Chelsea Clinton recommended I read a book by the former head of the National Health Service in Great Britain, called Turning the World Upside Down about what we can learn from poor countries in the developing world about putting patients and communities at the center of health care, not doctors and hospitals.

<>


Do a site search on Mark Hyman MD. 'Farm -> plate -> health consequences' is the story.

I have no doubt organics will win.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:11 PM

34. I'm sick to death of all the silly studies

that show that organic produce is indistinguishable from factory farmed produce. Of course it is, that's not the point of farming organically.

What needs to be looked at is the soil that grows that food. Organic methods build the soil instead of mining and depleting it, adding vegetable matter, nitrogen from manure, and other nutrients from sheet composting and other methods. It's been proven time and time again that a well run organic farm will see an increase of yields over factory farming as soon as the soil has been built and a stable insect ecology achieved.

The word to focus on is "sustainability." Organic methods are sustainable without factory produced nutrient replacements for depleted soil and production isn't dependent on international trade routes.

Organically grown food is grown more labor intensively and that is much of the difference in cost. In addition, it's a little more challenging to set up reliable supplies for off season demand. However, it's becoming more available by the year as smaller farmers make the switch away from agribusiness.

Tl,dr: Don't look at the food so much when you consider the benefits of organic produce. Look at what it's been grown in.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #34)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:28 PM

38. See DU thread: More Than Nutritious, Why Organics Are Healthier

http://sync.democraticunderground.com/101648495

Glad to read confirmation that college kids (potentially entering their reproductive years in the near future) aren't confused about the issues at stake. Also see: http://www.cofed.org/

Inspiring.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:14 PM

35. Recommended.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/annie-spiegelman/prop-37-california-_b_1944155.html

Annie Spiegelman
Author, "Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down to Earth Guide to Organic Gardening"

Prop 37: California Soil Scientist Says Label Up!
Posted: 10/06/2012 11:08 am

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:17 PM

36. Stellar post, thank you so much! nt

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:22 PM

37. Thanks for the shout out to us Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farmers.n/t

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Response to fasttense (Reply #37)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:54 PM

45. But what does "naturally grown" mean?

According the the USDA, "natural" is not organic. Only organic is organic. Lots of food companies put "natural" on their product labels....but what does it mean? It seems, in a lot of cases, to be greenwashing.

I am very happy that the price of canned organic vegetables has come down to the point where the price is comparable to conventionally grown.

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Response to kurtzapril4 (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:25 PM

53. There are 2 certifications processes

USDA Organic and Certified Naturally Grown.

USDA Organics is very rigorous and for the most past, a consumer can be assured that the grower has been held to a set of standards that has been verified by a third party. While there has been some sporadic abuses, it is a good system

The problem with the USDA certification is that it definitely drives up the costs for a small producer which most small organic farmers are. The certification process, which is performed, by a third party can cost anywhere from $500 t0 $1,500 depending on where you are. This is not an insignificant sum to a small producer.

Add to that the fact that you may not be able to recoup those costs in the form of higher prices depending on where you are and you can begin to see why many producers, even though they are using organic methods, opt not to get the USDA certification.

But a lot of consumers want to know that they they are being sold is what they are getting and that someone who was growing veggies using tons of 10-10-10 and Sevin dust was representing it as being grown using organic or natural methods. Hence Certified Naturally Grown.

CNG inspections are done by a third party usually another CNG farmer growing the same type of crop as the farmer seeking certification. CNG has a list of standards which pretty much mimic a lot of the USDA standards. It costs around 100 bucks for the fee and the rules state you cannot inspect a farm that has inspected you. Many farmers has looked to this certification as a way to inform consumers about their growing practices. Whole Foods lists both USDA Organic and CNG certifications for stuff it procures. Not a foolproof system if you are looking for absolute assurance but affordable and a good first step for farmers who may want to get the USDA certification.

You can find out more here: http://www.naturallygrown.org/

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Response to kurtzapril4 (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:36 PM

71. Certified Naturally Grown is a certification process similar to USDA organic, but less expensive.

You have to pay a lot of money to get your farm inspected by the USDA to get Certified Organic status. CNG is nongovernmental, and as I understand it is something of a peer-reviewed process, where other farmers inspect your farm to be sure it meets the standards. It has a specific label (you can google the Certified Naturally Grown label), and has a specific meaning beyond the generic, empty "natural" label you find on so many BS products these days.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:43 PM

40. Bravo!

Thank you for what you do!

Someday I hope to have my own little place.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:47 PM

43. Thank you for informing us.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:48 PM

44. Thank you for

taking the time to post that! I am in northern MI where there is a great deal of agriculture. With my kids at college age they are really into organic and have dragged me along with them.

I knew some of what you wrote, learned much and am so glad you shared that with DU in such an eloquent & effective manner.

Thank you for all your efforts in regard to your farming and the spreading of enlightenment about the food we eat.

Bravo!

Julie

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:03 PM

46. Kicked and Recommended

to support small farmers, ecological food production, and a healthy planet.

I've been a 90% organic food eater since way before most people had ever heard the term.

My yearly doctors bill is usually zero. Been that way for decades. The only time I get medical care is when it's an injury I can't take care of myself.

I suggest visiting Organic farms. Then check out an agribusiness farm. That's what convinced me when I was 18.

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Response to Richard D (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:48 PM

89. I do the same

as much as possible. Unfortunately right now I'm dealing with the medical industrial complex by way of workers' comp-and that's a joke since it's a spinal injury and I have yet to have them order an MRI or even x-rays... after four months. Had to get an attorney to make them do their damned job.

But I digress...

I do make a number of my own remedies for pain, skin issues, and general all around fix what ails me stuff which also includes a healthy, mostly organic and naturally grown foods diet.

What a lot of people don't know about a lot of store-bought produce, especially berries and short shelf life items, is that it's not just GMO and heavy on the pesticides, it's also irradiated... can't wash that off either.

I hauled produce for many years and what I saw in the fields before that stuff went on my trailer made me not want to eat anything that came in a package. My mom had a garden at nearly every place we lived and I was not a fan of anything that didn't come from our garden. So shoppers beware, what you don't know about your food supply is what you have no power to change. Irradiated tomatoes and most everything else, including your dairy products, have been irradiated so that it lasts longer, but it also changes the molecular level nutrition... food for thought. I suspect that industry funded research is even addressing that question, and I question some of the research due to funding sources... especially after I went to college in the late 90s.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:09 PM

48. K&R Thank You

For the info!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:11 PM

49. We only grow 2 acres of organics - enough for my sister's catering biz, our local green market,

my barn clients, ourselves, and the local food pantry.

What most people don't understand as well is the backbreaking labor involved with this. Its extremely time consuming to fertilize the fields by hand, to cultivate and harvest by hand. Since most organic growers have smaller operations, many of us aren't mechanized. So the labor is a gift of love. Often the price of the produce doesn't come near to compensating the farmer at minimum wage even. Its done because its a lifestyle that we love, that enables one to enjoy their work,and we know its better for the planet.

Thanks for the OP BronxBoy. May your fields be bountiful.



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #49)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:45 PM

58. The only way to Know for Sure...

..is to Grow Your Own.

In 2005, we moved to The Woods and started growing our own.

We maintain Honey Bees, Chickens, various berries and fruit trees, and a BIG Veggie Garden.


Health and Environmental concerns aside,
we would do this for the TASTE only.
Factory Food tastes like cardboard.
Whole Foods is marginally better,
and Farmers Markets a step beyond that,
but NOTHING tastes as good as healthy produce grown organically in healthy soil,
picked at the moment of perfect ripeness, and eaten while still wiggling.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #49)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:17 PM

63. Most people have no idea how much food you can grow in a small space

We are sitting on 2.5 acres but only have about 6,000 square feet under cultivation. From that area we can grow enough to satisfy our 3 season CSA, manage laying hens, do occasional pastured poultry, raise bees and still do farmers market and restaurant sales.

The labor is hard but rewarding.

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #63)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:16 PM

69. Another BeeKeeper!



I've met several other BeeKeepers at DU.
I wonder how many we have here.


Come visit us in the Rural/Farm Group...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1182412

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #69)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:28 AM

132. A little OT, but

I am a hard-core skeptic about most "health food" claims. Unless it's backed up by evidence - a study is well-designed and double-blinded - I'm not likely to believe it.

Having said that, I'm eagerly awaiting a well-designed reputable study on locally grown honey and its effect on allergies and other conditions, because it makes perfectly logical sense to me that if you're regularly eating local honey, your body is going to react differently to local allergens than if you're not. Until then, no harm putting a teaspoon a day of delicious local honey into my greek yogurt.

And as I'm sure you know, honey also has proven anti-infective properties, and has been proven to work on burns.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/health/19real.html

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Response to Patiod (Reply #132)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:57 AM

134. I'm interested in Bee Sting Therapy for arthritis.

There is no way to do a double blind study on Bee Stings,
but the anecdotal testimony is strong enough to interest me.


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Response to Patiod (Reply #132)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:35 PM

147. Propolis

 

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:17 PM

50. K&R for the noticeable absence of that faction. n/t

 

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:18 PM

51. Thanks for the info, BUT

Here in the Northeast, we also have NOFA, who strictly certifies organic farming. From what I have been told, it is quite strict, and very difficult to get on NOFA's list. More info on NOFA here: http://nofa.org .

Here in the Hudson Valley of NY, we have a plethora of farmers' markets that serve the community. Many of these small farms are organic. I have seen the Kingston, NY farmers' market start off small, to being a huge community event. They have even started a winter market. Even though this is smaller than the market in summer, and does not happen as frequently, it's becoming quite large. This has taken a little over ten years, but it is wholly worth it. Many of the farmers' markets here take EBTs for payment, and have been for at least five years.

There has also been a move on in the city of Poughkeepsie to bring a community farming project online, so that people in these food deserts can grow their own food, in their community, and have input into what gets planted, how work is divided, what gets sold, and other aspects of this effort. It seems to be successful, because they are out at the market all the time.

I have also seen a local movement to have more local produce in some of the larger super markets. People are demanding it, so the smart managers of these stores have listened. I hope that this is the beginning. I really think that though people are happy to have food that is not in season in the local area, they are getting tired of seeing it come from places like South American countries.

I used to work in a food co-op warehouse, and saw the consolidation of small companies into larger ones, and it is not nice for the people buying their products, or people like us, who supplied the food co-ops and buying clubs. They tend to raise prices, and the quality is just not what it used to be.

So being part of the food co-op movement early on, I see exactly what you mean. Our main goals were to educate people as to the value of raw, natural, and organic foods, and to educate folks that buying this food in bulk, with a group of people who have a vested interest in the outcome can actually reduce food bills. Now that there is a "natural foods" section in every super market in the country, I feel that one part of our goals were met. Though the warehouse that I worked in has been out of business for quite some time now (due to corporate consolidation) many of us who worked there are still getting out the word about co-ops, their advantages, and their value to the individual consumer.

Thanks for bringing up the points you did. People should know that "organic" is being compromised by the corporations, as every good idea people come up with for the good of WE THE PEOPLE, and not them, the corporations!

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #51)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:40 PM

56. This is why I love DU....

I had not heard of NOFA and will check them out.

As you might tell from my screen name, I'm a NYC boy. Although I no longer live there, I used to live for the Union Square Greenmarket. Little did I know that I would be helping to do the same things that the Green market did so many years ago.

I'm also glad you brought up the cooperatives. It saddens me that when many people think of organics, they first think dollars. But cooperatives from both a producer and consumer perspective go hand in hand with a a goal of a more just and equitable world. And I truly think that farmer cooperatives will go a long way to increasing affordable food access to many communities while helping to make farmers viable.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:19 PM

52. A friend of mine travelled the country interviewing small farmers, urban farmers, and food activists

and cowrote this book:

Farm Together Now

http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Together-Now-Amy-Franceschini/dp/0811867110

Thank you very much for this post.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:27 PM

54. K&R - Organic (local farmer "organic") is the way to go. That's what we try to do.

 

Granted, it isn't always possible, but the extra cost (if there is any) is worth it. It's quite often the same price or lower than commercial shit. Either way, it's better food. Our garden is entirely organic.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:34 PM

55. I'm going to join a CSA.

At the end of the day, I doubt it'll even cost me anything more than going to Safeway does.
Tired of this shit.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #55)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:58 PM

60. Tips for Joining a CSA...

1. Make sure you cook or know how to store food for later use. If it's a decent CSA, you will be surprised how quickly food will pile up with each weekly share. The overwhelming majority of members who dropped out or didn't renew our CSA did so because they just couldn't utilize the amount of food they were getting in their share.

2. Visit the farm. Ask the farmer questions about his growing practices and how long the farm has been in business. Be leery of a farm that is starting a CSA in its first or 2nd year of business. While a new operation can meet the demands of a CSA if the farmer has extensive experience, a new farmer and a new CSA may be a recipe for disappointment.

3. Make sure you can make the pickup days. When a farmer harvests for a CSA, he is specifically picking for you. If you don't pickup, the farmer has to find an outlet for the stuff that is picked. In many cases the CSA may be prepaid but most good farmers hate to see food go to waste

4, Are you adventurous? Many CSA grow stuff you won't ever find in a grocery store. Ever use Kohlrabi or purple potatoes? How about fresh lemongrass or Asian veggies. If you are a basic meat & potatoes type of person, a CSA may not be for you.

5. Make sure you are OK with someone making your weekly CSA selections for you. The farmer generally decides what's going to be in the share that week and you are pretty much bound by it. We have had some wonderful and supportive CSA members not renew because they just loved the process of going to market and selecting their veggies for the week.

6. Understand the risks. You are essentially becoming a shareholder in the farm. If a tornado comes along and wipes out Farmer B's crop, you share in that risk and forfeit any return of your CSA fees. You need to understand that as it can possibly result in a significant loss of money depending on an event such as drought of frost.

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #60)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:15 PM

62. Good info, thank you.

Slightly different than a Co-op I see.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #62)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:37 PM

65. Much, much different.....

A cooperative is an excellent way to support the local food movement but is a much different animal than a CSA. The cooperative is more in line with a more traditional retail shopping experience. A CSA might take some getting used to if you've never done one before.

And I'm OK with consumers using either method to buy fresh food and support their local farmers

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #65)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:06 PM

92. I'm having trouble finding one.

I live east of Seattle. Any ideas where they gather/share info?

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #60)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:40 PM

83. All great tips

I love having all the unusual stuff, as well as the "basics." Occasionally I get something I know I don't care for, and I give it to a friend or family member. Stuff DOES pile up, so it may be good to get a friend or relative to share your share!

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #55)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:38 PM

82. I love belonging to a CSA

Just check it out! I love mine. My parents also have a dairy and meat CSA they belong to, in addition to veg and fruit.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:44 PM

57. k&r

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:53 PM

59. Kick.

Thanks for the post and your perspective.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:11 PM

61. The problem with the organic label is that it no longer relates well to small local farmers

Most of the organic market is owned by big agra now. So simply buying anything with an organic sticker on it is more than likely you are getting it from big agra. If people really want something produced, marketed, and distributed by small farmers, they need to either buy it at local farmers markets or participate in co-ops where you know what the supply chain is.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:18 PM

64. Excellent OP.

Organic food may cost more at the store, but it costs less in the long run due to better health for both the consumer, farmer, and the land.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:55 PM

66. look to Russia and how it is handling solutions too

http://www.naturalnews.com/037366_Russia_home_gardens_food_production.html

what price health and freedom?? i would think /hope there is much support for the small farmers here and everywhere
Wishing fair wages for all providers to the community along with good bounty for all of us.

There is enough for all.
The earth is a generous mother;
she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children
if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.
William Bourke Cockran (1854 - 1923)

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:04 PM

67. I read your OP after coming home from a farmers market.

Last edited Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:26 PM - Edit history (1)

A certified farmers market where the growers must provide evidence that they actually grow the produce, raise the animals, or in the case of other vendors that they produce the products locally. Most of the vendors aren't organic, but all of them have a commitment to growing beautiful, fresh food. Some of the larger farms also sell products to Whole Foods thanks to its local products initiative. I've also seen local chefs picking up crates of fruit or vegetables.

I'm a life-long farmers market fan. When I was a kid the local farmers hauled in their produce from less than 20 miles away. By the time I was a teen there were only a handful of farms left that close to the city and the market was barely holding on. Now in that same small metro there are at least a half dozen thriving markets all summer and fall and a handful of indoor winter markets as well.

Sometimes the prices are higher at the market but often they're the same price or lower. What's constant is that I see the people who produced my food. I can talk to them about what's new on the farm or just chat about families, the weather, etc. It's a connection to community that is important to me.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #67)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:43 PM

72. I'm Glad...

more farmers markets are taking the steps to certify their farmers before they can sell at market.The more we can verify the activities of local farmers, the better.

And thank you for supporting your local farmers market

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:25 PM

70. rec#125

bravo, BronxBoy.

(Wife ran the produce dept. at David's Natural Market in Columbia, Md. Still does -- from the other side of the store, tho.)

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:52 PM

73. Back when organic potatoes were $ 4 a lb, I bought some as a joke

This was probably around 1993.

I wanted to prove to myself that the "Trendy" People of Marin didn't know that conventional food and organic food ain't that much different.

Well, did I get surprised. I found the potatoes cooked up very quickly. Then because of my excitement over the "organic" experiment, I realized how I hadn't bought any butter.

I mashed the potatoes, and unlike the conventional potatoes I had known and hated since around 1980 something, these "Fluffed" up exactly as my mom had fluffed hers back in the fifties.

And they tasted light and creamy -- like they were smothered in butter. Even though they only had a small dab from what was left over before my shopping trips.

I instantly became an organic convert. My only consideration in terms of "Conventional food" possibly being as good as "organic food" is when someone at Farmers' Market tells me they are in the last stage of getting approved - that nothing has been sprayed on their property for some two years. Then I can't say I notice a difference.

Also, I found out I am not allergic to apples -- I just can't have apples that are sprayed with the typical apple pesticides.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #73)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:35 AM

133. My friend raises backyard hens

The eggs are different enough that my SO can tell and will complain because they have a "taste". He prefers tasteless "factory" eggs, which is okay - more backyard eggs for me.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:57 PM

74. Thanks bronxboy

I joined this site recently. I find the hypocrisy here tickling. The posts in the the other thread ridiculed organics, said there is no good from organics and the cost of non-gmo is high. I have seen republicans argue about the global warming the same way - lack of evidence of global warming is man made, cost of fossil fuel is cheap etc.
I felt the DU is more matured and the people here usually educate themselves. I was pissed off when the prop 37 got defeated in CA. If one doesn't like it at least give a choice to others. There was a post here on prop 37 and so many here said they will vote against it. That was a shock for me.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:02 PM

75. Organic Food is healthier, but almost unaffordable.

I switched my family to organic food 6 years ago when I realized that our food was making us sick. I now make every meal from scratch at home with organic whole foods purchased from Whole Foods. I don't shop around because it is time-consuming enough to make 3 meals and 2 snacks for 2 adults and 2 teenagers without adding a long-distance drive to a farmer's market to my schedule.

Our family saves money directly from lower health costs because of how we eat. We lost 115# collectively, lowered our cholesterol, resolved fibromyalgia, joint pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and gastric reflux. We have one monthly prescription for thyroid meds ($5/ month). We rarely get sick anymore. This is a real cost savings for now and in the future. I believe we can look forward to a long and healthy life.

The problem is that the food is so expensive.

Our food costs between $100 and $150 a day. That's 4 people (albeit 2 teenage boys with hollow legs). We can only afford one car. We have not exchanged Christmas gifts in years. We took one vacation since 2005. My clothes are old and out-of-style. All our money goes to high quality food (fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, oils). Staying well has had to become our priority. Whole Foods is really Whole Paycheck for us. I'm not kidding.

I don't blame the organic farmer for these prices. I blame food policies and regulations that are written by big agriculture to favor factory farming and monocultures. Let's restructure our food subsidies to reflect a commitment to health. If I buy a whole food, it cost X. When you process it into a cereal, a candy, or a pastry, it should cost more. Sustainable agriculture and healthy practices should be subsidized. This just makes sense.

Right now, the cost of our food is unsustainable. The only way for our family cut costs would be to move on to an organic farm and eat what we grow. Maybe BronxBoy could use some help on his farm.

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Response to rainin (Reply #75)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:45 PM

84. You can feed four people for less that $150 a day

Easily, even if you shop only at Whole Foods. That is a huge amount of money. That should be closer to a weekly budget.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #84)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:00 PM

90. It is a crazy amount of money.

My family eats nearly all organic and we don't even come close to that.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:20 PM

76. I am glad to see this thread

still up and positive. It took me many years to convince my "better living through chemistry" husband to give up his malathion etc. Now out here on our little farm we garden organically and what we don't grow we get at the local farmers market. I can seemingly constantly when there is good, local food available.

Always learning about sustainability, adapting to the changing climate and staying as close to local as we can.

People like you who share the information are helping to change the planet for the better. Hopefully one day it will be easier to get in front of the corporate bs and create a movement strong enough to win this. Our very lives and the life of our planet depend on it.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:30 PM

77. I see it as art vs schlock

The artist is driven by passion, soul, and competence.

Those who produce schlock are driven by money and settle for the most inferior product that they can get consumers to buy.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:55 PM

78. Thank you so much for your excellent essay, BronxBoy!

I've been supporting Organic Farmers since the '70s when I started finding out about the Organic Movement and really Grateful for how much it has Grown. Made good sense to me. I even had the honor and pleasure of working on a bio-dynamic farm in Valley Center, Calif in the '80s.

Now I'm on Kaua'i supporting the organic farmers here in the co-op and at the Farmer's Market once a week.

I thank you, your wife, and all the Organic Farmers all over the World for your contribution to our Planet, our health and palates!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:57 PM

79. My primary reason to buy organic is to help promote soil health.

Factory farming methods lose topsoil, whether they're no-till or not. They don't add organic matter to their land, even if they till the old crops back into the soil. That's not adding organic matter, due to those plants coming from that soil to begin with.

Healthy soil grows healthy plants, and healthy plants are far more resistant to disease and pests than "conventionally farmed" plants. I'm not sure of this, but I thought I'd read that such healthy soil is more of a carbon sink, too. I'd think we'd want to encourage that more than ever.

I'm not a farmer, and what little I've grown in the ground was a tiny home plot many years ago. I do enjoy it when I can grow something, even if it's in pots on a concrete patio

So, I have some links to share if you're not already aware of them:

Soil and Health Library
Weeds - Guardians of the Soil

I have a link to another site that's kind of "fringe" yet there are some gems within. Ideas I've seen there have shown up here years after the fact from other sources. So, I'll supply it if you're interested.

Great post, nonetheless!

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Response to kentauros (Reply #79)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:33 PM

95. Absolutely! IMO, it's our most precious resource...

And it's a resource that's alive and needs tending to. The rate at which we're losing/shedding topsoil is absolutely stunning, thanks in no small part to our devastating conventional/factory farming methods. According to these numbers from Cornell University from six years ago, the US is losing soil at 10 times faster than the natural replenishment rate (with China and India losing soil 30 to 40 times faster). From what I remember, it can take nature up to 500 years to build just an inch of topsoil on its own. Sustainable farming methods (including things like management-intensive grazing) can help speed up the process, but, even then, it's fairly slow-going. And, while erosion is a huge threat, so too is the polluting and toxifying of the soils that are left.

Our view of "wealth" woefully focuses on and is limited to how much money one has, I think this excellent long-read article highlights soil as our true "financial institution":

Soil Our Financial Institution
http://permaculture.org.au/2008/08/07/soil-our-financial-institution

And, if you've got the time, this was an excellent documentary on the matter:

Dirt! The Movie
http://www.hulu.com/watch/191666

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Response to drokhole (Reply #95)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:47 PM

105. Thanks for the links!

I just started watching the Dirt movie, and Bill Logan looks familiar. I may have seen part of this movie before (maybe on the Documentary Channel.) I'm glad they've talked with Paul Stamets. Fungi are so very important to soil health. He's got at least one (maybe two) TED Talks out there on this subject as well.

http://www.ted.com/speakers/paul_stamets.html
Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

The Rodale Institute has a lot of good information on organic farming and soil health, though you'll have to search their site to find those articles.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #105)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 12:35 AM

110. One of my heroes!!!

Stamets completely blew my mind wide open to the many wonders of mushrooms, and he seems like such a wonderful and genuine guy to boot. He has also demonstrated an intense awareness of the deep interconnections of the web of life, and I love how he's able to articulate it so concretely (for instance, calling himself "a collection of microorganisms, unified by one voice"). Aside from the soil mycoremediation that he has pioneered/advocated and all the other miraculous uses he highlights in that TED Talk, here are a few more interesting possibilities/applications of fungi that I've come across as of late:

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?


How fungus could help us win the war on bed bugs (reminds me of Stamets's work with other pests)

Fungi Discovered In The Amazon Will Eat Your Plastic


Stamets did have another TED Talk at the 2011 TEDMED conference, but he covers all that material and more in this fantastic (and a bit longer) speech at the 2011 Bioneers conference:

Paul Stamets at Bioneers (2011)



And this was uploaded just two weeks ago, a fun (and quick) look at Stamets and his work:

Mushroom Man

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Response to drokhole (Reply #110)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:04 AM

111. I may have seen the Bioneers talk

I'll have to watch these tomorrow as it's a bit late here. We may have to start a fungi thread

I do remember reading one of his articles about kombucha and trying to get it funded for production in medical uses. However, as soon as he mentioned that it wasn't a single organism but a colony, the talks fell through. Seems that the FDA considers colony-organisms as contaminated, no matter what kind of healthful substances they may manufacture (kombucha has some anti-cancer actions associated with it and the substances the colony produces.)

I've never bought any of their mushroom kits or the other kits they sell. If I had a garage or a shed, I would, but there aren't any good places around here (perils of apartment living...)

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Response to kentauros (Reply #111)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:38 PM

143. Very interesting.

Thanks for the info. What a load of crap on the FDA's part.

One final bit of goodness on the Stamets front, this one a bit older and focusing on certain mushrooms more 'magic' properties:



I know I've already given you more than plenty to sift through, this is just a fun one to have on the back burner if you ever have the time for it.

There are actually a few universities performing interesting studies on the therapeutic value - particularly in terms of anxiety and depression - of psychedelic mushrooms. Among the leaders in the field is Dr. Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins, who himself has a pretty great TEDx presentation. I wish I lived on the East Coast, because they're actually currently performing and still recruiting for an interesting study dealing with the spiritual effects of psilocybin and subsequent changes in attitudes and behavior.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:18 PM

80. I thought about responding to the original thread

Because organic labeling has been hijacked, means very little now. But I figured, why bother, why discourage people just to show I am informed. Thank you for this post. It illuminates the issue far more than I could have.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:34 PM

81. That is why I but from farmer stands

Even though they are not allowed to call themselves "organic" I will trust the farmers that were here for three generations.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:59 PM

85. I don't know that I see many misconceptions being explained away here

Explaining why organic food often costs more doesn't stop it from costing more. It might make more people willing to pay the difference, more appreciative of the difference, but that won't make it more affordable for many people.

In that other thread some people argued about the supposed health benefits of organic food. Now you're pointing out that there are other benefits -- supporting small farmers, getting fresher foods into "food deserts", more environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques. Fine. But that doesn't make an argument about the supposed health benefits a "misconception", or change the fact that many people claim to choose organic food for primarily health reasons, reasons which are debatable and not answered by pointing out other potential benefits.

Further, no matter what other great and noble deeds have been done by Joel Salatin, that doesn't stop that quote about cancer he made from being misleading and over the top.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #85)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:24 PM

86. Point partially taken

We can debate all day about the benefits of organic vs conventional. And I don't have much of a problem with the Joel Salatin quote nor do I agree that it's over the top.

I was reacting to the posts that called organic farming a scam and implied that those of us practicing such methods are scam artists preying upon the public. To me that's more over the top than what Joel Salatin said. Also many posters commented on the the pricing of organic vs. conventional foods and I was adding my opinions and insight as a small producer

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #86)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:37 PM

97. I still don't see how you defend the cancer remark

This is somewhat repeating what I said in response to another post, but there's no known large difference in cancer rates between people who eat only organic food and people who don't. Further, cancer existed well before modern times, long before there was anything but "organic" food to eat. That makes saying, "If you think organic food is expensive, have priced cancer lately?" a false and misleading dilemma.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #97)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:54 PM

101. Whatever......

I don't find that comment to be all that outrageous. Sorry.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #85)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:40 PM

87. Read your post in the other thread

and found your statistic of longer life astounding. Did this particular study mention any of the chronic diseases that chemical exposures play a role, such as diabetes, Parkinson's, lowered IQ, learning disabilities, and many autoimmune illnesses?

You can check out the current research into the many ways that exposures to toxic chemicals affect the human body. This article contains an interview with Linda Birnbaum, Director of NIEHS, where she discusses the direction of research. Then you may want to head over to Environmental Health Perspectives and do searches of chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=birnbaum-government-toxicologist-qa

A neighbor began his career as a chemical engineer at a huge corporation and quit when he realized the introduction of all these chemical products was in effect human experimentation. They were not really concerned with health effects.
He is now a successful organic farmer and he farms many acres around the community. Advantages over conventional farming for the locals:

1. Locally available produce.
2. No pesticide drift onto neighbor's homes and yards.
3. Pregnant women living nearby his fields will not be exposed to chemicals known to affect the development of the fetus.
4. Children waiting at the roadside near his fields for the school busses are not exposed to pesticide drift.
5. People walking the roadsides near his operations will not be tracking pesticides into their homes. (Often pesticide levels are higher inside homes than outside because it does not degrade very fast indoors due to the absence of sunlight and rain.)
6. More labor intensive so locals are hired to work there.


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Response to KT2000 (Reply #87)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:33 PM

96. Do the trees add up to much of a forest, that's the real question

If you do a longitudinal comparison between people who've eaten organic all of their lives, and people who haven't, then (while useful in other contexts -- more information is always better, I'm not disparaging basic research) all of those other individual issues you bring up are a bit beside the point.

On a population level, once you account for other things that can improve health that going along with eating organic -- particularly being able to afford it (since better income increases health and longevity), and being more focused on healthy food choices in general along with the organic aspect -- it should be apparent if sparing people all of those separate different chemical exposures adds up to better health and longer life.

That's what hasn't conclusively shown up in any studies that I've heard of, except that one study that shows a pretty minor effect.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #96)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:17 PM

102. With 100,000 chemicals in commercial use

there are not many opportunities to choose not to be exposed. Eating organic foods is one.

The individual issues are certainly the point. Damage from exposures is dependent upon many factors such as age, health status, other environmental issues (as noted in the article by Linda Birnbaum) The farmer who chooses to go organic is saving the entire community from exposures.

Reading the literature will help you understand the effect these chemicals have on the human body. Many are hormone disruptors, most are fat soluble and many are neurotoxins. Some agricultural toxic chemicals may not even show damage until the second and third generations. I really don't believe a longitudinal study will give you the information you would need to make better choices.

Again - Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #102)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:26 PM

104. If you can't avoid exposure to bunches of nasty chemicals, and the effects are so dire...

...then you're either saying that eating organic isn't enough to make a difference -- therefore what would be the point? -- or that it's still useful to eat organic, even in the face of all of those other exposures -- but that would have to show up in a longitudinal study.

The only way any imagined organic food benefit wouldn't show up on a population level would be the nearly infinitesimally improbable case that people eating organic just happen to be the people who get hurt the most by other environmental exposures to chemicals, and the people who don't eat organic just happen to be the ones who avoid most other dangerous exposures, so that the effects magically cancel out.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #104)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:51 PM

106. personal choice

and how a person makes decisions for themselves and their family.
If you want to wait for the results of a longitidinal study before you stop storing agricultural chemicals in your fat tissue - go ahead.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #104)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 03:30 AM

112. pesticides is dangerous and we have to be cautious

Organics are better way to do farming. I don't think we should wait for a study to link organics to avoiding cancer. I think you are arguing for the sake of arguing.


"The National Academy of Sciences issued, in 1987, a report on pesticides in the food supply. On the basis of data in the study, the potential risks posed by cancer-causing pesticides in our food are over one million additional cancer cases in the United States population over the next 70 years.6."
"In the summer of 1985, nearly 1,000 people in several Western states and Canada were poisoned by residues of the pesticide Temik in watermelons. Within two to twelve hours after eating the contaminated watermelons, people experienced nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, muscle weakness and other symptoms. Fortunately, no one died, though some of the victims were gravely ill. Reports included grand mal seizures, cardiac irregularities, a number of hospitalizations, and at least two stillbirths following maternal illness."
"A February 1987 EPA report, entitled Unfinished Business, ranked pesticides in food as one of the nation's most serious health and environmental problems."
http://eap.mcgill.ca/MagRack/JPR/JPR_03.htm

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #85)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:02 PM

91. 1. pesticide cause cancer

2. Organics use no pesticide
3. Many don't follow pesticide usage guidelines and sometimes food has more of it than safe limits

Which of this is not true?

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #91)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:22 PM

94. Point 1 depends on the particular pesticide and the quantity

So it's neither true nor false, but complicated.

2 is true, at least when it isn't false advertising.
3 depends on how many is "many", and what the effects are for a particular pesticide when outside of "safe" limits.

None of that adds up to "buy organic, you won't get cancer, don't and the tumors will come!". It doesn't even add up close to that, making the "If you think organic food is expensive, have priced cancer lately?" gambit a false dilemma. Cancer existed well before modern times, long before there was anything but "organic" food to eat.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:47 PM

88. Such an amazing post! Thank you!

And thank you, above all, for the work you do and your advocacy! I go to a farm that's about a 40 minute drive that has the absolute most delicious eggs and milk I've ever tasted (they utilize the same management-intensive pasture methods popularized by Joel Salatin). Thing is, their milk is cheaper than the "organic" milk you find at any big-chain grocery store. And, yes, it's also "raw" - which, thanks to their grazing techniques (grass-only, no antibiotics or growth hormones) is not only perfectly safe, but provides more nutrients and beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, I've seen the vast majority of people - even those here on DU - demonize it and belittle/marginalize anyone who thinks otherwise.

I've tried to spread some of the sustainable farming love on DU, but those threads don't tend to elicit much of a response. Posted some of my favorite articles and videos in this one (including in some of the responses), if you're interested:

To Kick Climate Change, Replace Corn With Pastured Beef

Also, there was a great film I recently watched called Edible City: Grow the Revolution that focused on the urban farming movement in the San Francisco Bay Area:



There's another one on YouTube called Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil Crisis, where they switched to sustainable farming out of sheer necessity (because of being abandoned by the Soviet Union/Russia in the early '90s), that's worth checking out as well.

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Response to drokhole (Reply #88)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:39 PM

98. LOL.....

I think the raw milk debate arouses even more passion than the organic vs conventional one.

I will take a look at your links

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:12 PM

93. I try to purchase ORGANIC whenever I can! I feel safer with ORGANIC foods! Thanks!!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:45 PM

99. I admire what you're doing....

but feel the need to point out the USDA banned adding hormones to chicken feed decades ago.

All chicken and eggs in the US are free of artificial hormones.

Plenty of issues with antibiotics....just not hormones.

In chicken. Or pork.

"No added hormones' labels on beef, however, mean something.

Still happening in the beef industry.

Unfortunately.

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Response to Red Mountain (Reply #99)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:51 PM

100. Thank You

Always good to learn something

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:20 PM

103. Pesticides - it's not just cancer

In the 90's the city of Albuquerque was spraying malathion for mosquitos in my neighborhood and the whole neighborhood became ill - especially the little children. Main symptoms: breathing problems, big gastro problems, excess salivation, back pain, and I came down with all of the above leading to environmental illness. Since then, I eat about 98 percent organic. I have my own chickens that eat organically because I don't want eggs from chickens eating gmo's. Even in the winter, I grow tomatoes and lettuce in my south windows.

I moved from the city to the high country desert and cleaner air. Between the clean air and clean food I have recovered my health but it took a long time.

Most pesticides and herbicides have "secret ingredients" - how scary is that? Pesticides have piperonyl butoxide to shut down the bugs liver otherwise the bug would be able to detox the pesticide. What does it do to our livers?

Good for you BronxBoy - my small garden was hard work: I can't imagine farming on the scale you do.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:55 PM

107. kick

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:09 PM

108. K&R n/t

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:42 PM

109. Thank you, BronxBoy

This is a subject dear to my heart. You are doing a wonderful job, growing farmer's markets and providing organic foods. If one does their homework, they should know the difference in the store bought, claims of organics vs. real organics. Yes, real organic foods do cost a little more, given the unfair playing field against corporate farming, but they are fresh and gmo-free. I try to buy as much as I can from farmer's markets and have started growing gardens myself. Keep up the good work!!!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 05:03 AM

113. [AGAIN]=> Nice excuse for pricing food too high...

... for actual working people.

(You can read the original here http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021878760#post16 , too... keep reading).

Funny, I was talking about this with a farmer friend of mine (his family runs a big dairy).

His family used to produce milk and to a local cheese factory which sold cheese in this area.

Both his farm and the cheese factory employed local people, but the pay was not high... it was only what you would pay working folks who work in those operations.

Well, some big size cheese operation in an entirely different part of the country began selling cheese in his area.
The cheese was a lot cheaper.
The big operation used its size and location to source milk from many sources around it in a bulk fashion that made all of its milk purchases mad cheap. Then on top of that, because their materials cost and production costs were lower per unit (due to their scale), they could afford to transport their cheese across the country to my friends town.

Working families can't afford to make the choice of paying 50% more for the local cheese than the stuff from the big operation. The lower price lets them afford other things their kids need.

The result:

* The local cheese factory shut down, meaning local cheese factory jobs lost.
* Without the cheese factory, my friend lost a big customer... had to lay off staff and switch to automation to keep things profitable.
* Everybody had cheaper cheese... both the people who still had jobs and the folks who didn't.

My friend says the situation sucks all over... but there is no easy solution.

It's really hard to convince regular working people and the poor to pay more when they have so many priorities to manage... when every penny counts they have to make every penny count.

We can't ask them to pay more like that.
My friend is a farmer who does environmental stuff on the mad scale (we looked at the two farms that are in the family via Google Earth... yeah... that mad scale)... and they couldn't win against a big corp.

And frankly, the only folks I see affording to pay 50%, double, or triple for free-range fair-trade whatever are people who have enough extra money to afford to drink $5 lattes with their $5 slice of cake any day of the week and not have to work weekends.

You know: people who already have money.

And frankly, I can't afford it either.

When the eco-farmers get together and make their stuff affordable for me, I'll be there.

But, I'm not holding my breath.

I already have a farmer friend who laments this same thing... and he can't see how he could ask the people around him to pay more.

Note on my friends farm: They totally an entire circle of life operations. They grown the feed for the cows, chickens and pigs. Has a really incredible map of how he takes the inputs of some systems and feed them into others and how he times extraction of resources to feed other systems. He totally runs no inputs from the outside world. So, this is not some lightweight we're talking about with just 100 or 200 head of cattle here.

So, I'm sticking to my imported beef.
In my case, here in Japan, I was able to buy American beef just this weekend for less than half the price of Japanese beef. It was imported into Japan... from America... by Walmart.

(Yes... I found the irony a mind blower, too).

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Response to 6502 (Reply #113)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:41 AM

119. No Need To Repeat Yourself

.....I got your willful ignorance the first time around.


I deal with hundreds of farmers not one and the vast majority set their pricing at very affordable levels. And way to miss one of the major points of my post; that the vast majority of organic and sustainable recognize that growing and selling affordable food is part of our mission.

Glad you can base your worldview on one anecdotal case. Take a look at the work Will Allen is doing with Growing Power, an operation that growing affordable food while also providing jobs in many urban centers. Or Google Truly Living Well Farms in Atlanta or the Backyard Gardeners Network in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. I glad these and many other farmers that I know decide not to adopt your defeatist attitude and instead are working to achieve many of the objectives you claim aren't being met. Are things where everyone would like them to be? Of course not. But I'll cast my lot with the folks who roll up their sleeves and say this is a solvable issue

I'm encouraged that so many people on this thread can acknowledge that there is work to do and can appreciate the work a lot of small farmers are doing to address issues of food security.

And what the fuck is an "eco-farmer"? All of the farmers that I know, organic or otherwise refer to themselves as farmers. Given your necessity to bring up Kobe beef, I'm guessing it's just a weak attempt at snark and a pretty pathetic excuse to smear an movement you obviously know little about

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #119)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:16 PM

138. [LINK]=> Your answer is here...

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:20 AM

118. I buy locally grown organic produce every week

and grow some myself as well. The quality and taste are fantastic, and our health is much better than when we were eating all factory-farmed food.

The health costs of chemically processed, factory-produced food are never part of the equation for the haters who are want to pay only bottom dollar for their food.

People like you are making a huge difference in communities all across America, and I applaud and advocate your work. Thank you.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:53 AM

121. The difference in taste between locally grown food (organic or not) vs conventional

is unreal. We have a small grocery store that sells a crapload of Minnesota grown produce - rarely organic, but local and also some produce that you can find in every other store.

Minnesota has a such a short growing season that finding fresh local produce is an adventure but for a couple of months in the summer it is heaven! Farmer's Markets are popping up everywhere and making it easier for us to find great food any day of the week.

We try to buy local and organic as often as we can - to support our local farmers and for health reasons.

I don't understand the backlash in the other thread on this topic. Pesticides are poison - why would anyone want that in their body if they have a choice?

Thank you for this thread and for the awesome food you grow!

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Response to nadine_mn (Reply #121)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:08 AM

124. I think the reason for the difference in taste......

is that many local farmers. organic or otherwise, tend to use seedstock that has not been bred primarily for the purposes of storage and transportation. In many cases we select cultivars for planting based on taste, yields and other things

To be honest, I have no problems with someone who disagrees that organics are not better for you. I know many people, including many farmers, who are not sold on the concept for a variety of reasons and the people I respect tend to disagree and what they feel are sound reasons. In most cases, we tend to agree to disagree

What gets my back up are people who just make these blanket smears against people toiling in this area. There's a poster in this very thread who, without knowing me or what I stand for, has said I am not liberal or progressive and that organic farmers are pretty much scum sucking latte hippies.

Of course, he doesn't know what he's talking about

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Response to BronxBoy (Reply #124)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:55 AM

136. Have you ever heard of Bruce Bradley?

He was a former executive with big food...General Mills, Nabisco, and Pillsbury. He has this great blog at brucebradley.com ... he has left the food industry and become a major advocate of local ood and knowing what s in your food.

Long before I had heard of Michael Pollan, Food Inc. and other eye opening stuff about food, I saw a video on his blog about how the food industry creates tomato flavor...this goes directly to your point about why produce tastes so good.

He sliced up a ripe heirloom tomato ... juicy and so beautiful! Then he talked about how the food industry needs tomatoes to be consistent in shape, size, and available cheaply all year around. He cut into a conventional store bought tomato...it was more mealy than juicy, the color was just pale. Then he talked about how, once the tomato has been diced and dried up for processing, it really has no taste, so to give it the tomato flavoring salt, seasonings and fats are added.

Watching that video set me on my food journey do to speak and has convinced me to buy from small local farms whenever possible, to eat produce when in season and to try to buy more organic when I can.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:00 AM

123. Buy local, know your food.

Fresh strawberries in February? Great if you live in California, Florida, or a Southern state. If you live in Washington, wait until May when your local crop is ready. I only eat food produced within 200 miles of my home. Not only better for the local economy but also better for the environment because less shipping, less trucks on the road.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:18 AM

125. K&R

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:42 AM

129. My local food co-op has competitive prices

And primarily buys from local small farmers (when available - cold climate and all that.)

There are ways to get good, local, sustainable food relatively cheap. And you support local food producers and keep your money in your community, which makes the whole community stronger.

Thanks for starting such a great thread!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 09:37 AM

131. Excellent article. Thank you for what you do.

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:53 PM

140. excellent work BronxBoy



It's great to see the overwhelmingly positive response to your op!!!

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Response to BronxBoy (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:07 PM

144. Organic horticulture, natural farming, permaculture etc.

 

I like the general definition of organic as tending the natural fertility of land - of which we humans are also parts of. EU is the main certifier here, and not all organic/sustainable producers withstand the bureaucracy to get certification, especially if they sell only on farmers market. Certification systems are for the urban consumers, not farmers...

And thank you for your good work, friend, I've been very enthousiastic hearing about what is happening in the former rust belt food deserts, organic (though I doubt certified) community gardens popping up in thousands, people in Detroit etc. are now eating more healthy local food than many rural areas. We are a horticultural species.

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