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Author Topic: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!
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  Country Corners Farm
  Griswold
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Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Fri, Jul 21 '06 at 03:26 UTC)

All that glitters is not Gold! Just because a company lables their product as "Organic" doesn't mean it is acceptable to the National Organic standards. (NOP) Case in point is Miracle-Gro's reprensible porduct tagging of their "Organic Potting Soil" Their only disclaimer on the back of the bag is that is not intended for Commercial Growers. If you look at the lable of ingredients you can see that they added some of their synthethic fertilizer to the mix. Although this may not bother some, I had 1 couple buy Certified Organic Plants from me this spring who ammended their soil with this product because they thought it was truely Organic. If their plans included starting an Certified Organic Operation next year, this area would have to be a transitional field for 3 years.

Another issue is with OMRI and their Generic list. In June I had an Major outbreak of Flea Beetles on my Eggplants. Looking through my OMRI Listings I saw that Rotendone was listed as an acceptable product. I called my certifier and was told that this product would nullify my certification if I used it, not because of the Rotendone, but because of the inert ingredients that the Chemical Companies add to stablize the product. The same companies won't even let the certifying angencies know what the ingredients are hiding behind the Trade Secret Disclosure Rule. Armed with this info, I found a website in TN that claimed their Rotendone was OK for Organic Gardens. After 5 emails to their Director of Sales, He agreed with me and promised to pull the Ok for Organic from their website. The final message that got through to him was this. Let say a person has 1.5 acres in which he or she lives. Let's say that person has a garden and does well their first year to the point of wanting to certify the following year. If that person used that rotendone or any other prohibitive product, then fully certification would take 3 years. If you think it sounds far fetched, I know a person with a 1.5 ac piece that is certified and made alot of money last year.

Finally beware of the OMRI Certified Organic Herbicide Alldown. Although this product is listed, it can not be used in ares of fruit and Vegetable production. I talk to Johnny's Selected seeds about this, but it may have fallen on deaf ears.

So, as goes the World, Buyers Beware, especially in the Organic World.

Bernie a.k.a. The Mad Polish Farmer
 TamsTrees
 danville
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Thu, Sep 21 '06 at 08:21 UTC)

Standards are bound to change as the large companies try and meet the demand. This is why its important for everyone to support and educate consumers and for consumers to support local farms.

Go and visit your local farm, get to know the people and their practices. You?ll see that there are plenty of farm today who operate using practices better then organic. I?m no longer impressed with certificates only.

Thank you for your post.

Tamara Burton

Dancing Creek Farm- Southern Virginia www.dancingcreekfarm.com
 TheTusculumGrower
 Nashville
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Fri, Oct 6 '06 at 12:01 UTC)

I am not to smart , that is why I live in the city (Nashville Tennessee) and not on a farm out side of the city.Orgainc Gardening , like winter tomatoes is a great dream , I have problems with both . It could be that I am not a farmer. That maybe my biggest problem. I have been a hobby grower for 40 years , and this year I have put 240 tomato plants in less than 1/2 acre spot. That is 4 plantings. My last 40 plants are in the groung they are the Mortage Lifters , and the Orgainc Beefstake, and like all beefstakes they are not pretty.Just large , if I can get two more weeks without frost , I will have ripe tomatoes to again. Turnip greens are kicking ,here is where I have trouble with the Orgainc Gardening , what can I put on them to keep the bugs off of them . I tried the marrigolds and the basil, leaves soaked in water with liquid soap, I have not done very well with that on the greens . This year I was always in a rush , and did not put down the black plastic , at the start of the season, last year I did not have any bugs in the greens . I have been to 25 farms this year buying for my customers , the greens are the worst I have ever seen, . They are full of sticks , full of horse droppings and cow droppings , chicken droppings , corn stakes , and you could see where the bugs had been eating well on them . I like for what I sell to be clean , . I can in my small lot keep the Greens growing to supply my customers. By planting everytwo weeks I have grens all the time . Until it is too cold , I have been thinking about maybe a greenhouse for greens .Year round greens. Here in the city (Nashville) greens are maybe the best money crop. I should be able to have a orgainc garden and not lose half the crop , anyone have any ideas for me ? Thank You (Mike ) The Tusculum Grower

HOOKED on Guitars and Gardens!!
 rosysage
 Delmar
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Sun, Oct 8 '06 at 08:16 UTC)

GREENS ARE HARD TO GROW IN HOT MUGGY WEATHER WITH NO INSECT DAMAGE > TRY GROWING THEM UNDER HOOPS WITH ROW COVER > YES TURNIPS TASTE BETTER AFTER A FROST ! :)SHARON

Sharon Carson
 TheTusculumGrower
 Nashville
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Sun, Oct 8 '06 at 08:49 UTC)

Ok Sharon I do not like anything after the frost , but I have customers that get mad when I tell them that . LOL, When the frost hits the tomatoes we cut them down , I have some friends who want the greens to be big I just leave a few for them , I will try that ,the loops . I may try a almost greenhouse for year round greens , I have been shocked to find out that people will buy them if I cut them , Thank you for the reply , and do send more advice , I need it . I have such a small garden that I am running in circles everyday trying to plant another crop ,just gussing when to get the last crop in . I have tomatoes that are 3 1/2 inches now they need two weeks of warm weather , bad news they are not going to get it . The good news , people want to by them green!! To the delite of some of my friends the frost is on its way , they will have bitter greens LOL

HOOKED on Guitars and Gardens!!
 hydroman
 myakka city
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Tue, Oct 10 '06 at 01:13 UTC)

Are you aware that the medical and clinical studies show Rotendone can cause Parkensons Disease?
Also I noticed that the e coli spinach was all organic and now the organic lettuce is starting to show up with e coli. Maybe Hydroponic would be safer and less deadly?

Chester Bullock
 Ohiorganic
 Eaton
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Tue, Oct 10 '06 at 03:14 UTC)

None of the spinach that was implicated in the e-coli scare was from a certified organic farm. the two distributors implicated both have organic lines but they also have conventional lines of produce and it was the conventional produce found to have been contaminated.

the lettuce that has been recalled is Foxy bransd which does not have an organic line of products as far as I know.

the only way certified organic produce could be contaminated by e-coli (assuming the farmer is following the regulations to the letter. If the farmer is not following the regs than the farmer should be decertified) is either due to farm workers defecating in the fields or harvesting with very dirty hands (and in which case the farm should be decertified as this is a no no) or in the packing shed. certified organic crops by law can never have raw manure applied to thm. this is not the case for convetional produce which has not rules about the use of raw manure and crops.

Lucy Goodman Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Eaton, OH http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com
 drgarlic
 Elderon
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Wed, Oct 11 '06 at 08:46 UTC)

I noticed that both times I saw a spinach bag in the stories about the e. coli problem, they were labeled organic. I couldn't help but wondering if this false impression was deliberate. We have enough difficulties in the organic business without the media working against us.

 Ohiorganic
 Eaton
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Wed, Oct 11 '06 at 04:23 UTC)

I too noticed that the e-coli spinach images were all organic lables and yes I believe there was an attempt to use this to undermine organic produce production.

And unfortunately it is working as I see/hear organic farmers making this mistake and these are the folks who should know more about all this than anyone.

Remember our media tends to misinform us under the guise of news, often.

Lucy Goodman Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Eaton, OH http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com
 CedarHillFarm
 Rice
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Wed, Oct 11 '06 at 01:39 UTC)

the latest I read on USDA about the ecoli was at
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/prodltr2.html
"FDA is aware of 18 outbreaks of foodborne illness since 1995 caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7 for which fresh or fresh-cut lettuce was implicated as the outbreak vehicle. In one additional case, fresh-cut spinach was implicated. These 19 outbreaks account for approximately 409 reported cases of illness and two deaths. Although tracebacks to growers were not completed in all 19 outbreak investigations, completed traceback investigations of eight of the outbreaks associated with lettuce and spinach, including the most recent lettuce outbreak in Minnesota, were traced back to Salinas, California."
My question would be why though, were only about half the incidents investigated?

farm fresh goods from our all natural & chemical free gardens in the heart of Minnesota http://www.cedar-hill-farm-minnesota.com
 greenstring
 Sonoma
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Mon, Jan 15 '07 at 12:40 UTC)

www.greenstringinstitute.org is two local farmer's response to the growing problems small farms have with organic certification. It is a lot more user-friendly, cheaper, and runs on ideas of community, integrity, and stewardship of land.

 Country Corners Farm
 Griswold
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Mon, Jan 15 '07 at 11:59 UTC)

IThe implications of eColli, Organics and the USDA are all entrwined. You see, the first problem is the eColi that affects humans. It is not the same strain of eColli that resides in a "Normal pasture raised & rotated cattle" In the past it took 2 years to raise cow from birth to slaughter weight. Now Big Business got involved and have Beef Factories, not Farms. The life expectancy of a beefer is now six months. In that period of time, they are not fed by pasture but pumped up w/ steriods and fed a high protein diet to gain the abnormal weight in that time period. The massive protien diet causes bloating & pain. Anti-bloating drugs are then given. They are put in the high density feedlots where there is an abnormal amount of urine and feces which they get to live the rest of their lives in. Due to the close proximity of all the animals, they are greatly proned to other diseases and given massive amount of anti-biotics for that. The combinations of all thes unnatural additives has mutated the ecolli gene in the cows. A cow's stomach in predominatly akaline based. With the Beef Factories, all the additives has changed the make up of their stomachs to acidic, much like humans. When that change took place, so did the genetic markers for that strain of eColli that mimics the same strain that makes us sick or die. The Govt. has known this for years, but instead of telling big business to go back and raise the animals right, they take their money and tell the Consumer to cook your meat more, longer, and hotter! In the Old days, I remember when you could go to the Supermarket and see the butcher actually cutting up a side of beef. Long gone our those days, and so goes our safety. Personally, I don't buy or eat meat out of the store. I have a Farm but raise Organic Fruits and Veggies. My meat comes from Local Farms from people I trust, and I can enjoy the old fashioned good tasting non-colored meat. I can safely have a rare steak when I want too!

Now Organic and the USDA.The Federal GOVT. has not always been into Certified Organic. I am A USDA Certified Organic Farmer but don't agree on all the issues with them at all. In the beginning there were people who went down the road less travelled and decided they didn't want chemicals in their food cahin anymore. Others followed, then organizations of the people formed to found NOFA and groups like that within their States and Nationwide. Big Business had little interest in it and thought it to be passing fad. When they saw a growing trend, they decided they would go after the Market share. So with their pockets filled with money they went off to Washington, formed some PACs and filled your US Represenatives & Senator pockets with money and told them that there were too many different set of rules by each state and that they couldn't do business that way and that a NATIONAL ORGANIC PLAN was needed... and so goes the Death of the Purest for the sake & Greed of Agri-business. Doesn't anyone have a question why for so many years, farmers thourgh manure on everything eatable and no one got sick? If you saw the News on the Outbreak and saw the Organic sign in the backgroud or in the report, you possible noticed that it wasn't a Family Farm, but a Factory!

Sorry to run on, but it's at ouchy spot for me. My best advise is to buy locally and get to know where, how, why, and who grows your food.

Bernie a.k.a. The Mad Polish Farmer
 Sandee
 Shelbyville
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Thu, Feb 1 '07 at 10:07 UTC)

Once again, education is important on this issue. The way that regulations were framed (yes, the NOP regulations) was that you were only supposed to use things like rotendone as a LAST resort, and have a plan to move away from using them. One secret may be in establishing a beneficial insect population, which may mean that you interplant with flowers, you may need to add native flowers, maybe you need to add some cover crops in that will flower while your cash crop will be producing. Organic agriculture is an integrated system and needs to be thought of as such. Even those things approved by OMRI are not supposed to be relied upon; the goal is to bring the whole system into balance. Try some trap crops.We let some people grow a garden our property several years ago, but we said they couldn't use standard chemicals. They had been farming for three generations that I know of, (tobacco farmers often use other people's land to grow their crops and that is the way that this relationship between our families began. ) We had just moved from the city and no one has farmed in my family until me for four generations. The flea beetles attacked their potatoes with great voracity. Our garden, and potatoes had some pest pressure but ended up producing well. I think the difference was the soil health, we brought compost from our previous home and amended the soil in strips when we got here.
The next spring (we got onto the farm in the end of October) we amended again before putting anything in the ground. We also use a thick straw mulch.
The other family came over, plowed with their full-sized tractor and then stuck the seeds (or plant starts) in the ground. I believe their plants were stressed (no food, no water retention from humus in the soil, etc. ) and because of the stress. Just a note: dish-soap and other soaps are NOT what organic gardeners are talking about spraying on plants. The soap of which they speak sticks to the plant material and carries the substance which you are trying to apply, such as hot pepper oils ,insecticidal soap should be sourced as an insecticidal soap. The last thing I'd like to address is the "Beyond Organic" fracture that is forming. We are not big enough to split into factions. Small farms need each other to avoid the "Walmarting" of organics.There are cost share programs that help small producers with certification, so the argument that it's too expensive etc. may not be true. Certification fees vary widely.In public I support all small producers but I have got to say that unless we help each other there may be a bleak future for all small farms. I, personally, am tired of hearing Beyond Organic-What is that? At least with the National Organic Program we have a standard language from which to speak. I have seen little discussion on transitional farmers (those in the three year transition period) which is emerging as a legitimate marketing tool. There is the opportunity to demand higher prices during the transition period because, like organic production it is more expensive to do. The NOP policy makers are also addressing issues such as fair wages, fair treatment of animals and other social justice issues. The NOP is written from a global perspective and was assembled over at least a ten year period. It may not be the what perfect organic legislation would have looked like but we have the opportunity to influence policy through the upcoming Farm Bill, it is the parameters within which we have the best possibility of effecting change--from within the system.

Earth's Promise Farm
 Pond digger
 Rockwood, TN
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Sun, Jan 20 '08 at 08:24 UTC)

This past fall was our worst experience for insect damage in our greens, especially turnip and mustard greens. It definitely is not our soil. Two contributing factors were the exceptional drought (a new category above extreme) and a fall that was more an extension of summer as our first frost didn't arrive until Nov. 6th. This allowed insects to keep on hatching out long after the migratory birds left the area.
This may be what we come to expect with global climate change. We are in a new planting zone as they have all shifted north by one zone.
Kale, bok choy and collards seem more impervious to insects. We stay away from all insecticides, organic or otherwise since we want natural predation to occur.
We use bluebird houses and wasp containers to encourage a healthy population of insect predators. Pest control is about balance between prey and predator. Quick fixes, organic or otherwise don't exist in the real world.

Living & teaching sustainable, Earth-friendly agricultural practices.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Sun, Jan 20 '08 at 11:35 UTC)

This may sound a little "airy-fairy," but I don't worry about pests if they take a small amount. When I got on this ground in NW Washington, I started out using extensive organic mulch to conserve moisture, suppress weeds and add organic matter. However, this led to a considerable slug problem. If you have never been in a garden west of the Cascades, you can't really appreciate their numbers. Now I don't mulch as much and I pick slugs by hand, morning and night. Sometimes I can get a gallon in an hour or less. I am considering a water feature to encourage garter snakes, which are starting to appear more and more. My experience last year with a trap crop was interesting. I had a row of cauliflower next to four rows of broccoli. The slugs wiped out my cauliflower and left the broccoli alone. I thought that was a good deal. It is not that difficult to retill and replant another crop in that space.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 Pond digger
 Rockwood, TN
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Mon, Jan 21 '08 at 08:50 UTC)

My son who founded "Food not Lawns" out in Bellingham, has had good luck using ducks to deal with the slug problem. According to him, it is a plague of biblical proportions. The ducks love the slugs, but unlike chickens, they don't dig up the ground and plants.

Living & teaching sustainable, Earth-friendly agricultural practices.
 jorgea
 Burbank
Re: Consumers and New Farmers, Beware!    (Posted Sat, Aug 25 '12 at 01:35 UTC)

I agree that organic certified labels can be extremely misleading for most consumers looking to buy real organic products.

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