Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why we don't pay to be organic

Some one asked me not to long ago when I decided I would raise my plants (all plants not just my food) organically. I told her that I couldn't remember a day when I hadn't thought that way. I think she thought I was just saying that and I can understand how skepticism may ooze from anyone reading this. Truly though, I don't remember a time when I didn't think that way. I don't know if I read a book, if God "put" it into me, or maybe some genetic "thing" that is inside some of us---who knows. Not I for sure.
I also don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in plants. Of course like all children---I DID NOT want to weed the occasional garden my parents had. My parents grew mostly tomatoes, green peppers and squash---all of which I hated. Not anymore--but I did then (of course green peppers still hate me!)
Anyway my point of wandering through my early life is to give a base point on why I don't "certify" my animals and my garden to be considered organic.
Two reason---one of which is easy. Organic grain. Though I am careful about what I feed my animals I am not always able to get organic grain. Though we do not feed a lot of grain there are times when we have to as in droughts and when the ewes are pregnant. Yes, I would pay the extra price for it but when I ship it in, since it's not commonly carried around here, the shipping adds a lot of price to something I can not easily buy in bulk or store. It almost doubles the "per bag" price. Yes, I would love to use only organic grain and hay (MY grass IS organic) but shipping costs can kill you when you have a small farm leaving virtually no room for any profit---not even a little to buy shoes with :-)
Secondly is the biggest reason and it is this: why on earth would I PAY the government to certify my farm and garden organic when they won't make the others I would be competing against follow the rules? See the story of Aurora Farms here and on Boulder Belt Blog for more information.
One of the lawsuit and article points brought up are: exactly what does constitute organically raised animals (veggies, milk etc)? I know my ideas may not be exactly the same as others. I know my idea may be more or less even than other peoples.
Maybe instead of worrying so much as to whether we are purchasing organic we should instead worry about whether we purchase locally. That is were organic started----and that is were it hopefully will come back too and become "real" again. Why all this stupid legislation by the government to "protect" us from bad food---but in reality most of the bad food comes from big business and the government won't even do anything about it.
I would LOVE to buy local milk----even pasteurized-----but the government makes that impossible. To much legislation that's "for our own good". What are they? My parent and I am 11?
Even starting local with a pasteurized milk I could then say to the farmer: Ever though about going organic? or Ever thought about selling some of it raw?
I am, and have been, a big advocate of writing our congress people and senators. However I would like to add one more thing to those reading this: Talk with your neighbors. Don't bash them over the head with it though---just teach them where their food is REALLY coming from and what it is REALLY costing us.
Even our neighbors don't "get it" completely---but we are working on them. Friends and family that live far away---well they take even longer to educate since they are not near us to hear all that goes on. What better way to affect change than right at home with family and friends? THAT is democracy when we can all get together and tell the government we are sick of their crap---and now they need to clean it up. We expect, nay demand, wholesome food. We are not some corporate guinea pigs for their on going research with food.


Robbyn said...

I really appreciate this post of yours. J and I have had many conversations about this subject, and I'm very reluctant to want to embrace a government-authorized label of Organic for the very reasons that you mention here as well as the fact that I just don't think government regulation is the way to go, since any time we involve the government in such an intensely personal endeavor as our use of our land and raising of food seems historically to give power to people far removed from OUR family's reality. In a sense, part of why we're wanting to move out farther and do this full time is because we're already tired of bureaucracy in so much of our present lives. Individual "governing" is hardly a move toward anarchy, as some would say (who don't understand) but rather a move toward our taking responsibility rather than handing it to someone else...and then paying money to do so. We're capable of being capable. I agree that knowing the local farmers and market is crucial...when you can SEE how someone is raising his cattle or produce and what sort of operation they run, you can have what's missing from the larger market...dialogue and relationship.
And oftentimes we have to balance working with what's available (as in the case of buying feed/grains)with our ultimate ideal...working towards it rather than steamrolling crusade style over those who're "on the way" but not on the same page.
Thanks for bringing this up!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

your comment: "Individual "governing is hardly a move toward anarchy, as some would say..... but rather a move toward our taking responsibility rather than handing it to someone else" speaks to exactly how my husband and I feel.
To often we hear of the lack of responsibility for self and family in many endeavors: education, raising children, jobs, food, creating safe neighborhoods etc since it is easier to have someone else responsible and also someone else to blame. No work, no effort, no responsibility, no fear----or so we think anyway. AND by the way---all that PLUS you still have 100% say about anything when you want it of course since this IS a democracy. The government will just step back and let you take over when ever you choose--- right?

Michelle said...

Have you seen this week's market
bulliten? Ga has a proposal on the
books to add food coloring to
nonpasteurized milk. Amazing our'tax bucks at work.