Why Buy Organic, and How

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on our "Why buy Organic, and How" newsletter, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: tina hirsch | Sep 14, 2012 09:46 PM | Permalink
I agree that dairy can be the "gateway" to organic foods; and love to spread the word about our local dairy, Calders. Along with the health benefits, organic milk tastes much, much better. http://realfoodmom.com/our-local-dairy/

By: Michael LaBelle | Sep 4, 2012 01:43 PM | Permalink
Three years ago I moved from Dallas, TX to Fruitdale, Alabama to found and operate Mighty Grow Organics. MGO manufactures a unique organic fertilizer using anaerobically digested poultry litter, processed with locally available trace minerals and beneficial micro-organisms. I realized then that "growing organic" is a LOT more than just NOT using prohibited fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

From my standpoint, the message about organic food needs to transition from negative (what NOT to use) to the positive (growing nutrient dense foods using the best that nature has to offer). A recent "report" dealing with the question "is organic produce worth the extra cost" came back with a resounding NO. What is missing from the report is where the "organic" produce came from and how it was grown.

I know for a FACT that the food grown with my fertilizer is higher in nutrients than conventionally grown produce. And the same SHOULD be said for ALL organic food.

Until we can differentiate between "industrial" organic and "local" organic reports like this will continue to surface.

For more information on my fertilizer, please search for Mighty Grow Organics.

By: Linda Marvel | Aug 29, 2012 05:55 PM | Permalink
By: Linda Marvel (Aug 29, 2012)

We decided a few years ago that the best way to make sure to eat only organic food was to grow our own. It was easier and cheaper to do than we expected!

We then got chickens and added goats for raw milk, and lo and behold...a one and a half acre small farm was born!

Yes, it is time consuming, moreso in certain months than others, but we haven't visited a Dr. in years, except for a physical exam, I don't take meds, we have tons of energy, we rarely get sick. The list goes on for all the benefits.

There is a sacrifice for every thing you want in your life. BUT what good is living if you aren't healthy? We believe that we are making a small sacrifice to have amazing health, delicious food, and a self sustaining lifestyle.

By: Linda Marvel | Aug 29, 2012 05:55 PM | Permalink
We decided a few years ago that the best way to make sure to eat only organic food was to grow our own. It was easier and cheaper to do than we expected!

We then got chickens and added goats for raw milk, and lo and behold...a one and a half acre small farm was born!

Yes, it is time consuming, moreso in certain months than others, but we haven't visited a Dr. in years, except for a physical exam, I don't take meds, we have tons of energy, we rarely get sick. The list goes on for all the benefits.

There is a sacrifice for every thing you want in your life. BUT what good is living if you aren't healthy? We believe that we are making a small sacrifice to have amazing health, delicious food, and a self sustaining lifestyle.

Linda

By: yolanda figueroa | Aug 29, 2012 01:16 AM | Permalink
Wow! The food industry has sure changed alot to expedite the growing population. Back when I was growing up the chicken was smaller and the wings would be the last to choose due to the small size of it.

Now the wings look like the size of a large bird and the chicken legs looks larger then my own....Seriously the food chain is not in the order that it once was, the way the animals are abused by forced feeding them and how they're being expired in such an inhuman practice.

You can see and taste the difference when you taste a chicken that's been grown from a farm as oppossed to the stress and torture that most GMO companies do.

The food that is being modified today has no taste value and they tend to stay longer on the shelf of course due to the chemicals that's been modified.

They even were trying to experiment on fish by feeding them corn...crazy as it sounds but these fish didn't like the taste it was not in their nature.

It goes to show they're not concerned about people, They're in it for the money...by the way what's next "Solvent Green!"

By: Janice Jovanovic | Aug 28, 2012 06:44 PM | Permalink
By: Janice Jovanovic (Aug 28, 2012)

Walter's comments impressed me. We are small scale vegetable farmers trying to achieve ''organic certification''. We are sorry we enterd this beauracratic nightmare. Common sense and the organic certifacation process do not mix. Whats the difference between organicly approved chemicals and conventional chemicals ? Can you ingest organicly certified chemicals ? LOL Just remember this,,,if a tablespoon of a chemical can kill or sicken you if ingested,,then that same tablespoon whether conventional or organic will eventualy build up in your body. So I came up with a saying " If you cant eat a tablespoon of organicly accepted chemicals,then you shouldnt spray it on your crops'' ''Parts per million'' is ok LOL,,same as the conventional chemicals Bottom line,KNOW YOUR GROWER or GROW IT YOURSELF In My oppinion,naturaly raised crops using manure and NO CHEMICALS are the safest,,might not be pretty cause of bug holes or mold,,but its the cleanest Oh and try to apply fresh green manure to an organic plot and you will loose your certification,,what a joke ''Organic'' is a placebo for people who can afford it. At the farmers market, I get a kick out of people asking me wether my crops were organicly grow,,while sipping water out of a plastic bottle. Now I have to be fair and make a comment on conventionaly grown food. Cancers have plagued the human body since Adam and Eve. People are now living longer lives. Without conventional methods,We would see wars for food. GMO is a wide paint brush,,When I crosspolinate different plants,am I not modifiying the genes of that plant ? One thing we should be thankfull for is freedom of choice Naturally grown ? Organic ? Conventional ? Buy what you think is right for you and what you can afford And if your your really concernd about what you eat ,grow your own or have a personal relationship with your grower Again to be fair,,my wife Janice didnt write this,,I did, Leo

By: sierra eaves | Aug 28, 2012 06:25 PM | Permalink
We are a small, three acre farm that has committed to growing around two hundred varieties of heirloom vegetables and livestock. We are not certified organic, and I don't plan to be. The NOP makes a joke of growing organically--which people did for hundreds of years before this group came around. The price and regulations are a joke. We don't need a sticker to tell us we are doing the right thing! Nowadays, just because something is labelled organic does not mean that it's a safe bet. The term is too broadly defined, there are too many loopholes and such variance in obligations (is that "organic" produce imported from a country were there are no regulations?). If anything, we will be Certified Naturally Grown--something that has a little more weight to it.

By: Lauren Cichocki | Aug 28, 2012 05:33 PM | Permalink
I'm a vegetarian with a terribly sensitive stomach so I prefer to eat organic foods because they keep me from feeling sick. I do not, however, eat organic fruits that have a skin that needs to be peeled like bananas and lemons. These have never given me any issues. I stay away from GMOs for the health and ethical benefits. I am an animal science major and learn all about how to feed animals using corn silage. The majority of my professors do not believe in organic products, however the reasons are economic. I prefer to learn about the different opinions and make my own decisions. I am still not completely organic, but maybe someday I will be able to make up my mind to become fully organic!

By: Sharon Renner-Poage | Aug 28, 2012 03:29 PM | Permalink
I have a container garden that is large by most standards. I grow organic tomatoes, peppers of all kinds, cucumbers, green beans, many herbs, chives, and onions. I buy organic if I can locally and if not locally; then I buy organic from costco and try to stay with in-season veggies and fruits. We only drink organic dairy and eat organic eggs and butter (thanks Costco again) .

My mom taught me by example her entire life, and then a year before she died, she encouraged me to start a garden with her on our deck so she could be involved. She taught me all the basics and everytime I eat a tomato I think about her.

By: Linda OCallahan | Aug 28, 2012 02:52 PM | Permalink
I am part of a CSA which grows organically. I have a garden which is grown organically. I buy organic for the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables and often for others. I buy a mixture orangic and nonorganic of meat and chicken products based on the price that day. I will start looking more carefully at dairy products after Erin's summary.

By: Jewel Hatcher | Aug 28, 2012 12:46 PM | Permalink
Harvest of the Heart Garden, Inc. (non-profit/all volunteer organization) realized six years ago the importance of growing organically. We grow Community Gardens in Madison, GA, and give the produce "free" to approximately 10,000+ disabled, elderly, job loss, low income families. Harvest recognizes the importance of organic vegetables in the diet, that also has growing children in their homes. We applaud your efforts as you reach out to farmers and communities.

By: Scott Brown | Aug 28, 2012 04:26 AM | Permalink
I took interest in organic foods when I read, "World Without Cancer." I started out avoiding the dirty dozen. Later I read, "The Organic Manifesto" which changed my entire perspective on "organic" due to RoundUp Ready crops. Then I watched a movie called Burzynski, which confirmed the existence unlikely conspiracy theory layed out in the book "World Without Cancer."

I have continued to read and watch documentaries, which simply add fuel to my interest in eating and sharing organic with those around me. I used to organic eaters were tree-huggers and granola hippy types, but now I am one of them. There is nearly nothing more important, because I now understand, what is at stake, "Our health and lives."

I am watching California's "Right To Know Act," which if voted into law will force food companies to label GMO foods in the marketplace. I am very excited to see what happens there, and I am hoping the rest of the nation will follow suit.

I believe when the non-informed person sees the GMO label they will ask, "What does GMO mean?" and we could see GMO free foods go stale on the shelves. Organic and GMO-free could become the status quo instead of a counter culture it is now. Until then organic is the only safe way to eat.

Maybe I went on a tangent, but these are the reasons, I eat organic and feed my chickens organic.

Until then and beyond, Organic has never been more important, I hope to become part of the Label GMOs movement in AZ.

By: Colette Baker | Aug 28, 2012 04:03 AM | Permalink
I do buy organic if I can find it..... Does anyone know why/how the USDA is certifying organic produce from Mexico? I am seeing this more and more and I do not trust produce from foreign countries. Chinese garlic has flooded the market and is everywhere. I will not buy it. I ask the produce manager to buy American garlic. Soon the US garlic growers will go out of business if we don't make the effort to buy American. I will only purchase produce and meat produced by US farmers and ranchers. The past year we have imported more beef from Mexico than ever before. If the animals are imported live from Mexico and slaughtered in the US, they are probably being classified as US beef. This is a problem to me because we need to know where our meat is coming from. Foreign countries have many practices that would never be allowed in this country. Many of the US southern ranchers had to sell off stock the last two years and this year it's the central states because of severe drought. No water, no hay, no food for cattle. With a flood of cattle into the market you would think that the price in the stores would go down but the US has also exported more beef than ever before, which helped balance the market. Because of this big sell of of US cattle, we will have less cattle in the US until supply is replenished. This could send cattle prices up in the future. Many ranchers have gone out of business also. Just remember, the more foreign food we buy, the less food will be produced in the US and I for one don't want my food supply controlled by foreign countries. Our US beef and produce is some of the best in the world.

By: Anne Elliott | Aug 28, 2012 02:29 AM | Permalink
I am 83 years old and have eaten organic food most of my life. I do not eat store bought food, but make my own from scratch, even to milling and baking my own whole wheat bread. I have blood pressure of a seventeen year old, no heart trouble, diabetes, or other diseases that I know of, except for arthritis in joints I have broken in accidents.

I take no prescription or OTC drugs, and have an active life for my age. All this I attribute to right eating and avoiding processed foods. HOORAY for organic farmers!!

By: Claire Jameson | Aug 28, 2012 02:16 AM | Permalink
I buy organic carrots because my sister and her husband worked for the Australian Government and they told me that carrots are one of the worst offenders for containing pesticides. I grow as much organic veg as I can produce in my raised vegetable beds. I have given my children organic milk since they could consume it, as I heard about the growth hormones in milk and a doctor advised me that if I did nothing else for my kids this was the most important thing I could do for them.

When I heard that we put, on average, 126 different chemicals on our bodies daily I became an independant consultant for the UK's first certified organic health and beauty company called NYROrganic. They are certified organic by the internationally recognised Soil Association, are carbon neutral and use fair trade organic ingredients. There are NO GMO,synthetic fragrances, no EDT,DEA,Carbomer,Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Silicones or Parabens, All of our products are 100% vegetarian and none are tested on animals- only willing human volunteers. I highly recommend it! Claire

By: karen stark | Aug 28, 2012 02:08 AM | Permalink
In the beginning of the ever growing knowledge and commitment to local organic food, it started with a friend sharing their knowledge.

Eating local is a lifestyle of finding the resources of small farmers that have the husbandry and growing methods you agree with. Making a conscience effort to find the time to cook, time to read and maybe even start your own garden. This lifestyle may take a person until the time of their death. Personally, I truly hope to die in my garden. Is that not the point that we live a better life, so we heal with the food we eat?

Beginning points

Find a Community that will be supportive: Perm-culture groups (they are in meet-up), Slow Food groups that meets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that has a newsletter with recipes, Community Green groups, Weston. A Price groups (they have a national website that tells of local chapter), Transition Towns have groups. I am sure their are more to add I know I do not know them all. The best place to start is a True Local Farmers Market. You need to ask the farmers if they are growing the veggies or animals on their land. (This first market I went to in Chicago area, had lots of veggies from California) The farmers themselves can introduce you to people who buy from them, and then go make friends.

Buy in Bulk: It will save you time, less time in the store. At the market, buy when they have the most of one veggie. aka. Tomatoes...ask if you buy 30 lb. will they give you a discount. So they say no, then ask if you can come and pick your own, would you get a discount. Or ask another farmer you like. Then freeze or can, but learn from an expert. Your extension office may know of a class or two. The Ball website also has contact info on classes on their site or find a woman that is in her late 70s or older, she will still know how. Yes, she may ask why you want to know how to can? All you need to say is to keep the tradition and to be healthy.

Meats buy in the whole or half. GRASS-FED Buy a big freezer. It is always cheaper steak, and a little more expensive hamburger. It is more money up front, but then you are not buying any beef for the next 9 to 12 months. Buy chicken with the whole bird, the same for lamb, pig, goat and even fish if you can find a fish CSA.(they are out there on the East Coast) O.K. the fish will not be grass fed.

I spend less time in the grocery store, less money on gas traveling to the grocery store, more time in the kitchen and garden. Which I then spend more time with my kids, because they have to help cook or clean up afterwards. Yes, they have practices (band, soccer, swimming, dancing and etc.)and when they were younger we did a lot of hot dishes. Leftover are key to feeding a family and the leftovers were heating up in the oven, not a microwave. Besides if the kids chops the food, they are more likely to eat the food.

Buy Local,and please be GMO free....learn to read labels....very key.... to be healthy.

By: Jan Kimball | Aug 28, 2012 12:00 AM | Permalink
I live in Cleveland, OH and about a month ago started buying locally produced food--while not listed as organic--that has no chemicals used in production. I've noticed a difference in how my body works and my energy level--in positive ways as a result of the food I eat that I buy there.

I've made a conscious decision to eat food that comes as naturally out of the ground as possible...without processing. I've also made a decision to only eat foods with ingredients that 1) I can pronounce and 2) don't look like they came out of a chemistry book. Unfortunately, I have to supplement my CSA produce with grocery store items and I'm being selective about that. I know I can't avoid harmful "stuff" but I'm working to avoid #1 and #2 above.

I have confidence in the farmer of my CSA and the openness which he shares about how he grows his produce and how the livestock are raised. I think that's the MOST important. I've made improvements. I don't need a certified organic label on my foods. I just need to know that responsible farming is going into my getting the most nutrients as possible from what I eat. I notice a positive result and will continue to make improvements. ---Jan K

By: | Aug 27, 2012 11:08 PM | Permalink
We live in the Sanford, FL area and are trying to eat healthier. My husband now has heart, high blood pressure, and diabetes. We want to get away from GMO food and food with unhealthy additives. We are looking for local farms where we can pick the vegetables to save on the expense as we are on disability. Last week we juiced for a week and all organic juices and also juiced some organic carrots. It was amazing how much better we felt. The taste was so much better. The vegetables in the grocery store have no flavor. If anyone can help us out I would appreciate it.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 11:05 PM | Permalink
It's my understanding, from talking to farmers, that organic certification cannot be obtained for polyculture farming methods -- mixed-crop fields, multi-crop orchards, "food forests", etc. Polyculture, in my experience, is the most stable, healthy, and resource conserving type of agriculture I know of. Organic certification is also cost prohibitive for small patchwork type farms. It wish this weren't so.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 11:04 PM | Permalink
In 1970, at 21, I became allergic to food. I was sick for nearly four years. Half the food I ate made me sick. Especially beef. I saw doctors. Quite a few, including shrinks. Kept food journals, the whole AMA Game. I couldn‚??t work for a living because I couldn‚??t stay well five days in a row. So I worked for Kelly Girl.

Then one Saturday morning I talked to a lady in a Berkeley health food store, who turned my life around. (They can‚??t torture her name out of me.) From listening to my symptoms, she educated me about BHA, BHT, Polysorbate 60 and 80, sodium benzoate, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 40, and a a plethora of other petroleum products that Americans were eating. And she sold me a copy of Consumer Beware by B.T. Hunter. I got my life back.

I worked 28 years as a legal assistant in Northern California, and have retired to Central New York. Farm country, GMO‚??s everywhere. And CAFO‚??s. A new battle for me. Gee, fighting corporations is NOT life? I had no idea.

Petitions, emails galore. And I vote with my wallet.

And Buy Local and Buy Organic are my new mottos. I get dairy from a small farm 5 miles away. I get eggs from an organic farm 11 miles away. Wegmans Supermarket has a good stock of local and shipped in organic food, including meat. And I buy other stuff from iherb dot com, an online retailer who‚??s right up my alley. I guess about 90% of my food is organic, certified or not.

I make my own whole wheat bread, culture my own sauerkraut and grow sprouts. I even make my own malt, which is only available from China. You're kidding, right??

Pesticides are an absolute NO NO for me. I have butterfly genes and bug spray can be fatal. I grow an organic garden alongside our mobile home and have pretty good luck. Bought a tumbler compost thingy to save my back. This is the Year of the Cabbage, one of those things that‚??s hard to find.

And I pray for the honeybees and the Monarch.

I was in on the lettuce boycott. I started a boycott of my own against Horizon ‚??organic‚?? milk, and talked to anyone who would listen in the dairy department of any store I was in, including employees. Their bright red cartons crowded Clover Stornetta right off the shelf and I never forgave them.

I joined the Westin A Price Foundation. I donated to the Organic Consumers Assoc. to fight for the passage of the GMO Labeling Law in California. Etc., etc., etc.

So this is a glimpse into my experience with organic food. Sorry if this runs long, but you asked for my experience and you got it.

I can't say enough good things about organic food or the people who produce it. Time for me to start another book.

By: Mike Moskos | Aug 27, 2012 10:23 PM | Permalink
Since I prepare virtually everything I eat, it's not such a stretch to buy only organic (or at least synthetic chemical free) items. What kills the average "consumer" is that they prepare precious little of what they eat and it costs a lot to let corporations cook for you. For example, for what most people spend on soda in a week, I can easily buy organic tea and make a year's worth.

What is difficult is buying only pastured/grass-fed meat for my dog (about 2 pounds a day). But I solved that by giving up my car and taking the bus.

says:    (Aug 27, 2012 12:00 AM)

I don't know if you were serious about "giving up my car and taking the bus" to save money for the dog's food, but it really tickled me. Thanks.

By: Conni Schaftenaar | Aug 27, 2012 08:10 PM | Permalink
We raise naturally-raised meats. We are not certified organic, as obtaining organic grains to finish our meat animals is prohibitively expensive. Therefore, we cannot avoid corn-based rations (which put the best finish and flavor on meat, in our opinion) that are GMOs. Other grains may be as well, but GMO corn is practically unavoidable. I understand, although have no direct knowledge, that even people who claim to have GMO-free corn feeds for animals will not provide a written certification to that, because even they can't be sure - that's how pervasive GMO corn has become.

We want to provide a healthy product for ourselves and our customers, and using no pesticides or herbicides around the hay or feed crops is one way, keeping animals in an environment with access to the outdoors and grazing is another. But we would literally prevent many of our customers from buying our products, which they love, if we had to go the route of tracking down, traveling to buy, and feeding truly GMO-free, organic animal feeds. Even now, with the drought across so much of the country, feed prices are rising and we are having to decide if we have to increase our price per pound for meats to cover it.

The whole GMO thing is just so frustrating - I see why corn farmers love it, as it increases their yields, and it's tough to make money farming grain, so every extra bushel counts. But I do fear the long-term effects of this on our entire food systems and health.

says:    (Aug 27, 2012 12:00 AM)

I prefer to eat red meat that hasn't been grain finished. It's hard to find any that's produced in the US, unless I go buy a lamb or goat direct from a farmer. I prefer the taste and the health benefits of all pastured beef free of grain. People need to take a page from Julia Child and go buy an old fashioned larding needle if they want that well marbled meat effect. Plus, grain feeding screws up the omega 3/omega 6 ratios. I'm much healthier and full of energy when I stick to pastured meat.

karen stark says:    (Aug 28, 2012 12:00 AM)

Weston A Price foundation is a good place to start if you would like to read about only grass fed beef. Eat wild is another site that has many grass fed animals on it and a source for you to contact ranchers and farmers that finish in grass. GMO corn has pesticide called bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, designed to attack a corn pest called the root worm. if you look up Jeffery Smith and seeds of deception it will give you more information. I hope this give you some ideas in a direction to look at. I know more and more people are looking for grass feed beef.

By: Scott Nielsen | Aug 27, 2012 08:07 PM | Permalink
With both of us unemployed buying organic is tough! To make matters worse our local Kroger is "reorganizing" the store and guess what is now missing? Yep...their store brand organic lines. Local farmer markets remain our best buy for the buck. Just talking to the farmers there put us in touch with another local farmer that raises all grass fed cows (no GMO, no hormones, no pesticides, no antibiotics!) who now has a dairy...even delivers locally and it is less expensive than anything I've found in the grocery stores. So talk to the farmers at your local farmer markets and you may be surprised what you find.

By: Rick Walsh | Aug 27, 2012 07:56 PM | Permalink
We grow certified organic produce in southern Oregon. We support our local Farmers Markets. Your new letter was very good and you ask us to respond to "National Organic Program and whether its definition of organic goes far enough". This is a very large and complex document. One of the provision calls for 3rd party audits to become "Certified Organic" we spend somewhere between 1200 to 1500 dollars per year to stay certified. It just grieves me when I have to pay this bill every year when I know a lot of the venders will be touting Grown Organically or Organic Produce and do not have to pay a dime to use the phases or the word Organic. The way I see it the average person does not make a distinction between "Certified Organic" vs "grown organically or organic produce" where there is no verification process. I would like to see it mandatory and enforced that you need to be certified to use the word Organic or Organically. There is plenty of other phases that could be used "grown without pesticides", "home grown naturally". Anyway great news letter keep up the great work. FG

By: Walter Haugen | Aug 27, 2012 07:52 PM | Permalink
I have been using organic methods for longer than most "certified" organic farmers have been alive, over 50 years. Yet these arrogant "certified" organic farmers disrespect me and keep me out of markets because I don't buy into their USDA program. Remember, the USDA is part of the same government that is currently fighting 2 unjust wars in the Middle East and regularly kills innocent civilians to keep the oil flowing. Everything is political and you cannot disassociate "certified" organic from the system that is killing us all. It would be more honest to give up your certification and just use organic methods.
Janice Jovanovic says:    (Aug 28, 2012 12:00 AM)

Walter's comments impressed me. We are small scale vegetable farmers trying to achieve ''organic certification''. We are sorry we enterd this beauracratic nightmare. Common sense and the organic certifacation process do not mix. Whats the difference between organicly approved chemicals and conventional chemicals ? Can you ingest organicly certified chemicals ? LOL Just remember this,,,if a tablespoon of a chemical can kill or sicken you if ingested,,then that same tablespoon whether conventional or organic will eventualy build up in your body. So I came up with a saying " If you cant eat a tablespoon of organicly accepted chemicals,then you shouldnt spray it on your crops'' ''Parts per million'' is ok LOL,,same as the conventional chemicals Bottom line,KNOW YOUR GROWER or GROW IT YOURSELF In My oppinion,naturaly raised crops using manure and NO CHEMICALS are the safest,,might not be pretty cause of bug holes or mold,,but its the cleanest Oh and try to apply fresh green manure to an organic plot and you will loose your certification,,what a joke ''Organic'' is a placebo for people who can afford it. At the farmers market, I get a kick out of people asking me wether my crops were organicly grow,,while sipping water out of a plastic bottle. Now I have to be fair and make a comment on conventionaly grown food. Cancers have plagued the human body since Adam and Eve. People are now living longer lives. Without conventional methods,We would see wars for food. GMO is a wide paint brush,,When I crosspolinate different plants,am I not modifiying the genes of that plant ? One thing we should be thankfull for is freedom of choice Naturally grown ? Organic ? Conventional ? Buy what you think is right for you and what you can afford And if your your really concernd about what you eat ,grow your own or have a personal relationship with your grower Again to be fair,,my wife Janice didnt write this,,I did, Leo

By: Rick Walsh | Aug 27, 2012 07:56 PM | Permalink
We grow certified organic produce in southern Oregon. We support our local Farmers Markets. Your new letter was very good and you ask us to respond to "National Organic Program and whether its definition of organic goes far enough". This is a very large and complex document. One of the provision calls for 3rd party audits to become "Certified Organic" we spend somewhere between 1200 to 1500 dollars per year to stay certified. It just grieves me when I have to pay this bill every year when I know a lot of the venders will be touting Grown Organicallyor Organic Produce and do not have to pay a dime to use the phases or the word Organic. The way I see it the average person does not make a distinction between "Certified Organic" vs "grown organically or organic produce" where there is no verification process. I would like to see it mandatory and enforced that you need to be certified to use the word Organic or Organically. There is plenty of other phases that could be used "grown without pesticides", "home grown naturally". Anyway great news letter keep up the great work. FG

By: Mary Connor | Aug 27, 2012 07:32 PM | Permalink
I am a small certified organic market farm. I think it is a no-brainer as to why it is important to eat orgnanic food from the perspective of the individual. I think we all should remember that every time we purchase food that is not organic, we are harming those individuals who work to provide non-organic food- they are exposed to chemicals in planting, harvesting, packing and in the plants that produce chemicals which support non-organic food production. It's just the right thing to do.

By: Cosmas Mahagama | Aug 27, 2012 07:23 PM | Permalink
Hello Good People, Thank you for your refreshing News Letter. I am learning more about the food I eat each day and how irresponsible I have been to my own health by not paying attention to what I eat. This is why I am so motivated to provide the availability of Organic produce in my neighborhood. A program that I could work with to serve Farmers, the customers to have access to fresh produce daily and myself to run and upkeep my business. It is no doubt a challenge with the economy as it is and the rising costs to maintain quality life. But I am sure there is a way that I could accomplish these goals with the help and the advice of the concerned organizations and farmers alike. I hope I get good leads before I get run out of my space that I have earmarked for a permanent Indoor Farmers Market by attracting the Farmers. No matter what, the need for Organic produce is greater than what most people think it is. The comment on your letter tells the story very fluently. Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Cosmas

By: Elaine Taylor | Aug 27, 2012 07:20 PM | Permalink
I am so moved by the need to afford to eat well that I offer an organic food co op at my farm which includes 15lbs of produce, 6 eggs, 7oz. of cheese and 1 quart of organic whole milk for $30.It is a community service. It is enough food to feed two people for one week. Beans or rice and greens are available for a nominal fee. It is very important that we work together in our communities and feed one another's mind, body and soul.

By: Laurie Macrae | Aug 27, 2012 07:14 PM | Permalink
I'm astounded that Riddle made this statement to Mr. Barnett regarding organic dairy farms:

"Riddle said that he prioritizes organic dairy, which he calls a "gateway organic product." Dairy gets the top spot for a few reasons: cows on organic farms eat fresh grass, so their milk is higher in healthy amino acids."

Organic does not equal lovely green grass pastures - the huge corporate organic dairies are similar to feedlots for beef cattle. They live on cement, walk, stand and eat in poop and eat total mixed rations which has no "fresh grass" at all.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 06:05 PM | Permalink
I buy as many things organic as I can and grow some as well. I am concerned about pesticides, herbicides and GMOs. I always buy organic dairy products and eggs. I follow the "Dirty Dozen " rules. Recently they added green beans. If something is on the list but not organic, most often I won 't buy it. Fortunately we have two stores that carry organic fruits and veggies -HEB and Sprouts. I don't buy processed foods unless organic. My food budget has grown since I added organic meat. It is expensive. One pound of hamburger at HEB cost me 8.99! I am concerned about Franken foods and hormone disruption not to mention cancer. There is a reason obesity is now epedemic! I make buying organic a priority. It would become less expensive if more people also did.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 05:43 PM | Permalink
Thank you for reminding everyone of the importance of organic foods in our diet. There is an epidemic of conditions, health problems and diseases among our children, our most vulnerable an suseptible, due to the pesticides and chemicals in our food source. It is so important that, if nothing else, we try to give our children the healthiest food possible, as well as our seniors. Organic food source should be a priority for everyone if we want to stay healthy. Alice Pena Pres., PNS Farms Inc.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 05:34 PM | Permalink
While I don't have an opinion of the National Organic Program at this time, I did want to say that I do abide by the Dirty Dozen plus two list set forth by the EWG.org. I truly would be lost without that list.

Changing the subject ever so slightly, I'd like to say that I rarely see any warning to home gardeners about having their soil tested before they plant. Specifically, I'm concerned about Chlordane, a poison that was in wide use at one time but now banned (it never breaks down) and highly toxic lead based paint. Not outlawed until 1977 the stuff is still around and paint chips work their way into the soil, especially around the perimeters of your house. Arsenic which was used as a wood preservative until 2004 (think wood swing sets, decks, fences) is another widespread contaminant. These plus many other are available online with a simple Google search.

Depending on where you live you might even have access to free soil testing. Just Google it. But even if it's not free, it is most definitely something that should be done without fail and if it were me, I'd have it done every year. It will also tell you the acidity level which is another factor that you need to take into account in case you need to amend your soil.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 05:21 PM | Permalink
I have suffered from food allergies and sensitivities for most of my life but didn't realize the relationship of reactions I suffered to the food "quality" that I consumed....I assumed it was the "type" of food I was eating.....until I went all organic. The change has been dramatic! So many years of stomach and gastrointestinal upset, vanished with a year. Amazing. And I have been losing weight, something I have struggled to do for so many, many years, using various systems, i.e. Weight Watchers and similar organizations, as well as computerized calorie counting, logging, and self-imposed diet plans, i.e. ADA etc. Eliminating as much processed food, and non-organic products and produce from my diet as possible has changed my life profoundly, and my husband's life too. We are both diabetic at this point, and the dramatic change has our doctor in awe. We have our "joy" back in living without the unpleasant "dis-ease" of chemically contaminated foods to make our lives miserable....who would have guessed??? Thank you Organic Farmers and Organic Advocates!!!!!!!

By: Conni Schaftenaar | Aug 27, 2012 05:16 PM | Permalink
We raise naturally-raised meats. We are not certified organic, as obtaining organic grains to finish our meat animals is prohibitively expensive. Therefore, we cannot avoid corn-based rations (which put the best finish and flavor on meat, in our opinion) that are GMOs. Other grains may be as well, but GMO corn is practically unavoidable. I understand, although have no direct knowledge, that even people who claim to have GMO-free corn feeds for animals will not provide a written certification to that, because even they can't be sure - that's how pervasive GMO corn has become.

We want to provide a healthy product for ourselves and our customers, and using no pesticides or herbicides around the hay or feed crops is one way, keeping animals in an environment with access to the outdoors and grazing is another. But we would literally prevent many of our customers from buying our products, which they love, if we had to go the route of tracking down, traveling to buy, and feeding truly GMO-free, organic animal feeds. Even now, with the drought across so much of the country, feed prices are rising and we are having to decide if we have to increase our price per pound for meats to cover it.

The whole GMO thing is just so frustrating - I see why corn farmers love it, as it increases their yields, and it's tough to make money farming grain, so every extra bushel counts. But I do fear the long-term effects of this on our entire food systems and health.

By: Ann Marie Morici | Aug 27, 2012 05:08 PM | Permalink
Buying organic foods, fruits and vegetables has become a natural habit for me. With organic I do not need to worry about consuming the various chemicals that non-organic products have. Organic milk is a huge preference for my family. Since I am a huge milk drinker myself, I can tell that I do have the "after taste", which I refer to as the hormones with organic milk. Many times I go out of my way to get to a store that offers a selection of organic products so that I can make daily wise and healthy choices. Thank you for providing our families with healthy food choices.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 06:03 PM | Permalink
I am a small scale farmer and grow produce for two fledgling farmers markets. I have been growing for market for over four years now. The farmers market I used to attend has been allowing "farmers" to sell produce they bought at auctions, from lord knows where. Myself and other farmers do not see where this is beneficial to the farmers market model, and is very difficult to compete with. Therefore we started two new, producer-only farmers markets, and have had good success. I personally follow organic standards and use no chemical herbicides or pesticides, and do not knowingly use GMO seed (although I don't know if companies legally have to list if their seed is genetically modified). I would become certified organic if it weren't for the cost (several hundreds of dollars per year), which is prohibitavly high for a small producer such as myself. I think it is important to inform the public that they should talk to the farmers and find out where their food comes from and how it was produced, not just blindly go for the "organic" labeling. Any good farmer and steward of the land will be more than happy to explain to you how your food was grown. If they can't, then Buyer Beware.

By: | Aug 27, 2012 04:20 PM | Permalink
I"m a colon cancer survivor....two surgeries and chemotherapy. I'm eating more fruits and veggies and taking in less chemical junk by participating in an organic home delivery business in Cincinnati. The change is better for me and I wish it had been around years ago; we are moving in the right direction. I also get more creative in cooking with new recipes for produce.


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