Diane Cooner wrote:
> Greetings to all;
> It seems my comments on "Self" magazines' article have stirred up
> questions as to whether I am sufficiently enlightened and/or connected
> with the correct people to comment on public perceptions of the organic
> Mr. Benbrook (whom I have never met but have always found his posts to be
> thoughtful and well-constructed) made comments about an article on
> organic foods' credibility in a national magazine. I also happened to see
> the magazine cover. Isn't the point of online forums to communicate with
> each other? Just because others on the forum were commenting on one
> topic, does this mean we all HAVE to discuss the same thing at the same
> time, or face derision? Isn't this a little hardline? And for that
> matter, discussion on issues of cost, paperwork, licensing the term
> "organic" and small farm exemption all DO have to do with that Self
> article, and it certainly would have been a better article if all of
> those topics had been included in it. That would have brought the
> "ignorant" public into the discussion from "organics" point of view,
> instead of excluding them from it. Including this public would even -
> dare I say it - put them into the "loop" of the discussion.
> So how do I fit into the loop? I have served as certification coordinator
> for the North Coast CCOF chapter for 5 1/2 years. I have been CCOF and
> IOIA inspector-trained, have been in the field accompanying inspectors,
> and have edited and published the IOIA newsletter, The Inspectors'
> Report, since 1994. I also am an estate gardener, which means that I care
> for a very few large private ornamental and vegetable gardens, and
> actually DO have a clue how hard it is to do this organically. I also
> served as president of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the California
> Association of Nurserymen (wholesale & retail) for 4 of the past 10
> years, and have consistently promoted non-chemical use and provided
> information to members in our 5 county area in Northern California via
> chapter newsletter (which I have published since 1986), besides going to
> battle with our parent organization in Sacramento over methyl bromide use
> and alternatives. Last but not least, I have been aware of the need for
> sustainable agriculture since my tender high school years when I did a
> report on pesticides and read everything I could get my hands on, which
> at that time was nowhere near what is available now, but was nonetheless
> just as damning. I certainly do not claim to know it all, have not read
> the OFPA cover to cover, and leave plenty of room for increasing my
> knowledge on all matters organic. But I am not "out of the loop".
> I still maintain that the organic community would be better served by
> finding a stance that we can be united on, instead of picking ourselves
> apart like a bunch of chickens.
> A friend from the Headwaters neighborhood showed up yesterday for a
> visit, and he told me, "You can't win a battle if your enemy doesn't
> respect you. There are a bunch of hippie, slacker kids hanging out in the
> forest, being emotional, saying to these big corporations 'please don't
> cut down these trees, because they are beautiful.' The corporations don't
> care about emotional [whether it's accurate or not], what they want is a
> better business deal. And until someone gives it to them, the trees will
> continue to get cut down. It's pretty simple."
> At this point, I see the media, to a large extent the USDA, and by
> extension the chemical companies, as the enemy, because they ALL
> consistently ask organic to justify itself. No mention is made of the
> corporate/chemical farming issues that we all know about. What is it
> going to take to get this issue out in the mainstream? I'm not saying
> that "Self" doesn't have the right to their say. I'm saying that, while
> on the most part it was a positive discussion, it would have been better
> if they had included this idea that chemical farming is no good. Or
> mentioned corporate welfare re: conventional farming. Etc., etc. Their
> headline inflamed paranoia, and their article, from what I saw, did not
> encourage consumers to contact the USDA with their opinions. These two
> points are what I consider to be "real" issues. In addition, I don't see
> where the USDA would ACT on what those consumers expressed as their
> desires, since I don't recall any historic precedents where the USDA
> listened to the public. The other "real" issues facing SANETters are
> simply [but importantly] fine points of the Federal Rule.
> Finally, I would like to address Sal's post on the "Self" article. He
> says he disagrees with me. I reread my post, and I just don't get what
> there is to agree OR disagree with. When I read HIS post, I find that I
> agree with his position on using the press to get the word out re: small
> organic growers burden.
> To Eric I say, get off your organic high horse; there are many people on
> this service that have valid points to be made, and just because they
> haven't been involved from the inception of OFPA doesn't mean that their
> opinions and observations don't count. Instead of deriding people that
> want to get involved in the dialog, why not try enlightening them kindly
> instead and see if anything positive happens. You should know that
> insulating yourselves with your cause and gnawing on the governments'
> intervention is only going to be frustrating.
> To Sal I say, quit being so angry with everyone and do something
> constructive with it instead, as many have urged you to. We all know how
> you feel - tell the USDA.
> Or maybe you should send a letter to Self magazine.
> Diane on Mt. Jackson, overlooking what's left of beautiful Sonoma County
> that hasn't been logged or covered with winegrapes, dairycattle or
> subdivisions. Yet.
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