> ...The word ORGANIC is only alowed to be used by CERTIFIED
> growers/farmers in Europe. There are lots of farmers working organic but not
> certified, they cannot use the word Organic, or the national equivalent of the
Sorry to hear it.
> > It drives costs up unnecessarily for many long time, truly organic farmers
> > incapable of covering those costs;
> There should be some subsidising from the government.
> conventional farmers let the environment and later generations pay
> for there way of producing.
Logically, yes. The present system is wrong. The contaminator should
pay, or - since effective alternative technolgies exist - "voluntarily"
avoid contaminating as a result of government policies that place the
burden on those contaminating. However - in practice, governments are
made up of elected "public servants" who in turn hire others. In order
to be elected & re-elected, expensive campaigns must be realized and
donors may carry more weight than voters whose vote derives from donor
funded media spots broadcast during an electoral campaign. In short -
it's a thorny political issue and there are vested interests involved.
Money can buy media time through which votes may be generated, and money
can buy the gratitude and possibly the support of legislators who need
funds to buy media time, etc.
I recently received and read today the latest "Gene Exchange" bulletin
from the Union of Concerned Scientists, that documents the consolidation
of industrialized agriculture through buy-outs & mergers of biotech and
seed companies, with a smaller and smaller number of bigger and bigger
agrochemical conglomerates. This has given rise to an ever increasing
number of agricultural products containing GMO organisms, much to the
detriment of natural benefical organisms, whose survial is threatened as
a result. (They die far sooner and reproduce much fewer offspring, when
feeding on pests that in turn feed on GMO modified crops - check it out
at www.ucsusa.org/publications. The article is "Risk Research -
transgenetic insect-resistent crops harm beneficial insects").
This will drive up the cost of agriculture and food, since GMO's are
patented and found only in purchased items which have no chance of
becoming established naturally within the environment, as do natural
predators, parasites and pathogens.
(It may be relevant to say that this is the same mentality and type of
practice that led to the fact that today, most US citizens have NEVER
eaten a seedling fruit, much less know the difference - or whether there
is one - or how significant it is; a "Consumer Culture" in the true
George Orwellian sense). I forgot the the year that forms the title of
the novel - 1984? It makes less sense in the past - or does it mean
we're already there! Am I confusing that work with Huxley's "Brave New
World"? Or is the principle the same - "culture" means breeding for a
certain end. The question is, who's driving - if the origins have
already been forgotten. Can the trend be reversed, or put back on
It can be done, but that may require generating a mass movement
capable of reaching the critical mass required to draw votes and thereby
"convert" politians who would then jump on the bandwagon. A useful
adjunct would be to work through the judical system - implement
lawsuites and petition court orders impeding environmental contamination
etc. The acheivements in the tobacco industry in this regard are
notable in this regard. Another alternative is lobbying directed at
select, responsive legislators that comprehend and share these goals.
None of these things are going to happen gratuitously. They require the
commitent and support of many, and we are all subject to economic and
other pressures that limit our ability to act, within the present
Hopefully, all of the above will come to pass, and those who contribute
most will benfit greatly, as will the entire world (even the
contaminaors and their children, chlidren's children etc). But those
who try and fail will pay a heavy price.
Meanwhile, the subsidy will not be forthcoming, and placing an
unnecessary additional burden on the organic (as distinct from the
"conventional") grower, is the only real result of compulsory
> > It is prohibitive of the right to free speech and to offer one's product to > > the public of one's choice on the basis of it's own merits;
> You can still say that yyour produce is grown organicly but you can't
> prove it.
Fritz, you said above "The word ORGANIC is only alowed to be used by
CERTIFIED growers/farmers in Europe."
> > There are alternative and depending on the circumstances, frequently
> > preferable methods of determining whether a given product complies with the
> > standard;
> someone has to check it and someone has to pay for checking the
The someone who pays can be the seller or the buyer, depending on where
the greater interest lies for realizing the sale. The criteria required
for "proof" will normally be determined by the buyer and will in most
cases follow the guidelines upheld by major (widely accepted)
certification organizations. But mandating that legally is a very
different matter, and compulsory GOVERNMENTAL certification (direct or
indirect) is an even more dubious proposition.
> > It is a measure designed to provide unwarranted and unearned advantages to the
> > certifier and/or distributor rather than the farmer and/or consumer, and this
> > explains the push the measure has received from certain quarters;
> The certifier has to be independant in the way they work from the
> government but dependent from international organic rules.
Correct- in those cases where certification is required by the buyer and
complied with, on the part of the seller.
> > Certification is a matter that's best left to be determined by buyers and
> > sellers of organic products. It will be indicated in many if not most
> > instances, but inappropriate to others;
> I would't trust market driven certifiers.
Public (consumer) acceptance is fundamental. The organic industry is
chain stretching from grower to consumer. It's an internal matter, best
determined within the context of each transaction. Large scale frauds
will be picked up by interested parties (reporters, competitors, buyers,
industry figures or even governmental officials) and actions will be
taken. The public will be informed, and penalties should be paid, as
well as damages.
> > The dangers of compulsory certification under the control of a single
> > governmental agency were amply demonstrated when the word "organic" came all
> > too close to legally meaning things it has NEVER been meant to mean by any
> > serious and dedicated participant, due to the excessive powers granted to
> > government and their "sweethearts" by OFPA;
> Countries like Germany, brittain, belgium have more than one
> organisation for certification. The Netherlands only have one.
> All EU certifiers use the same rules.
The fundamental questions are: Is certification really required and who
shall determine that? It appears the the US may be rapidly becoming
part of the "old" perhaps more straitjacketed world.
> Frits v/d Laan
> Biologische boomkwekerij/
> Organic horticulture
> Gouda - Netherlands
The Proper Basis of Authority for "Proving" Authenticity: Individual or
Governmental?. My personal belief is that biology forms the only solid
basis for social interactions, that healthy individuals make up healthy
societies, and that there are no "short cuts"; i.e., no way exits to
subvert the intersts of "the "healthy individual" to those of the
"healthy society". You don't strengthen the society by weakening it's
individuals. The very concept is a lie imposed by those who pretend to
represent what they in fact, don't. They too are individuals.
This brings us back to the political problem. Representitive democracy
is not true democracy. But in a world of 100> persons, the job of
perfecting it is obligatorily ours.
Applied to this instance: Is authenticity best determined by
Governments? Are individuals no longer competent or deserving of
authority based on his or her own merit? I find the trend disturbing
and dangerous, and the implications offensive. I find no pressing
public need for requiring compulsory rather than transaction determined
certification. (We are not talking about driving a car or performing
surgery). The industry doesn't require compulsory certification and the
measure opens the door the abuses greater than the present incidence of
fraud, that are sure to follow.
I am not anti-government. An APPROPROPRIATE governmental role is proper
and necessary in the context of this issue. I have stated elsewhere
that OFPA drives a deeper wedge between organic (as exemplifying
sustainable) and conventional present day agriculture, by forcing the
industry into the Procrustes Bed of compulsory certification, rather
than providing what could be an enhancement and additional safeguard, or
option. The only legitimate motive for certification's being compulsary
must come from within, and not be externally imposed. Arranged
marriages don't work. (Neither did The Prohibition).
Instead of continuing to ignore and postpone the root issue, government
would do better to assume a leadership role for the purpose of leveling
the playing field, by:
1).- Mandating comparative studies designed to demonstrate economic
coordinates for alternative vs convertional agricultural production
systems, that include any costs to the environment, public health and
worker productivity involved (i.e. nutritional and performance factors);
2).- Create additional incentives and compensatory measures that take
advantage of the knowledge gained (or demonstrated) above, through
This too will happen, eventually - but not by itself.
US culture can be what US citizens make it, and put into public office
those mose capable of acheiving the most desireable ends to the greatest
number - if those ends can be identified and made widely known, in a
clear, positive and interesting manner.
Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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