It sounds like CA has a lot of regulation. And that some of it is BS and
oppressive. Well, that's what we get. And who out there thinks it will
get any better when the feds get hold of it? The US government can
complicate soup and sandwiches - and charge more for it than anyone
Regulation becomes necessary when the consumer is separated from the
farmer - an argument for more direct marketing. But, sadly, our culture
has gone down a road that separates everything more and more each day.
I recently heard Elliot Coleman's keynote address at the Carolina Farm
Stewardship conference. He said that putting organic cert. in the hands
of the govt. will mean that it will be degraded more as time goes on.
Special interests will lobby to get their products on the acceptable
list no matter how strict the initial standards are. Billions are spent
on lobbying each year. (Does anyone see organic farmers banding together
and raising millions to lobby?) Let's face it we've got the best
government that money can buy.
Elliot also talked about a system he saw operating in Europe (Holland?)
A store that supported organic farms bought produce that was grown by
their standards. They posted these in the store. As they learned more,
these were changed. He said that this had the effect of causing other
stores to follow because of consumer demand. He also said that this is a
system that is constantly changing for the better, not like our proposed
system. It seems that it also avoids the certification process. (I
thought you would like that part, Sal.)
For myself, when I can no longer use the "O" word or any of it's
synonyms, I plan to write up my growing practices as completely as I can
and provide this to all customers- wholesale, retail and CSA. They can
then call it anything they want (in the privacy of their homes and
between consenting adults). Someone at a workshop suggested I could put
"Organic", "Sustainable, Chemical-Free", etc. stickers on the sheet and
let them peel and stick what they want to on the bag.
When it really comes down to it, I think most *really* organic farmers
are non-conformists and govt. regs. will only be met by coming up with a
way to operate outside an oppressive system. Oppression hasn't slowed me
down a bit. It keeps me on my toes. Good luck, Sal and see if you can
find some humor to lighten your day. We need to laugh and get angry and
play and work and ...
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