> >For instance, think of the number of organic inspectors it would
> >require simply to inspect the acreage that would provide that supply
>Misha's comment appears to show clearly how the system has loaded the
>contest in favor of chemicals, since organics have to undergo all
>kinds of certifications, documentation, etc. In short, the default (in
As one who earns a reasonable percentage of my income from doing
organic inspections, I'm hoping eventually for something of a hybrid
One of my key approaches to organic inspection is an evaluation of the
whole farm system and its various elements. What I want to see is that
farm includes enough bio-diversity, and the applicant has in place a
good enough management system, to greatly reduce the need for chemical
responses to the usual production challenges.
For example, if the applicant has limited equipment for weed control
--- along with a limited understanding of weed life cycles and
resulting timing for effective control --- the situation is ready-made
for falling back to the spray rig, maybe even as soon as my truck heads
down the road. In those circumstances it is extremely difficult to
recommend in favour of certification without some kind of close
I will consider that we have succeeded remarkably well with sustainable
agriculture if at the end of my career in another 20-25 years I am
still doing the same general sort of inspection --- on farms that use
chemicals. In other words, if in order to obtain a *licence* allowing
chemical fertilisers and pesticides to be applied on a given farm, the
grower would have to demonstrate that (s)he has in place the very
bio-diversity and management systems that will greatly reduce the need
for those chemicals in the first place.
If we get to the point where a on a "conventional" farm the chemical
response is a third- or fourth-tier defence we will have come a very
long way. I'll leave it to others to debate whether there is sufficient
justification for attempting to eliminate chemicals entirely.
The key thing for which we should be inspecting --- whether chemicals
are used or not --- is healthy and vital whole farm systems.
Unfortunately that's not even happening in the course of most *organic*
inspections right now, but that is another topic.
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