Certified Organic Farming
Certified Organic Farming is a wonderful conceptual idea, but unfortunately falls short in its practical application - and is competely out reach for most would-be small farmers, primarily due to cost, mountains of paperwork, and endless hurdles. In its present form, it exemplifies how government can really get in the way of a good thing.
There are many questions which must be answered before one embarks on the certified organic journey; related to time, money, market share, marketing skills, labeling, record-keeping, local resources, and one's commitment level.
Having said this, I still support and applaud the efforts of all our honest and truly committed certified organic farmers! They have chosen a difficult road, and they deserve all the help and support we can give them!
On the consumer end, confidence in "USDA Organic" continues to fall with the revelation of each new organic scandal, in which profit is placed above the principles of what organic was originally meant to be. These days, it is best to know your organic farmer, and his or her organic certifier on a first name basis, in order to ensure that the product is actually 100% organic - and the larger and farther away the company, the more this holds true. Bottom line - know your farmer (certified organic or otherwise) and know his or her practices. Better yet - be your own farmer, and put your best practices to work for you.
“Yet the organic label itself - like every other such label in the supermarket - is really just an imperfect substitute for direct observation of how a food is produced, a concession to the reality that most people in an industrial society haven’t the time or the inclination to follow their food back to the farm, a farm which today is apt to be, on average, fifteen hundred miles away.” - Michael Pollan, Author, Journalist, and Food Activist