Early last month on our Facebook page, we shared Michigan farmer Leah Smith’s clear thinking on the meaning of Organic in her article What Does Certified Organic Mean? published on ACRE U.S.A.’s Ecofarming Daily. We were pleased that this FB post reached over 1,500 people and prompted many engagements.
Farmer Smith spoke the truth when she wrote that not all organics are created equal due to variables at many levels. She also noted that organic mega-farms, previously unheard of, are now prevalent and that some suspect that standardized rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate the meaning of organic were developed to offer an advantage to larger industrial farms.
With these more than reasonable concerns in mind, it was nonetheless some relief to be reminded by the Rodale Institute’s Pocket Guide to Grocery Store Chemicals that if your food is labeled USDA Organic, a consumer can know that the food is grown without chemicals that can harm your health.
On the other hand, this pocket guide includes this Warning: If your food is labeled ‘natural,’ ‘all-natural,’ ‘healthy,’ or has no label at all, you may be consuming the following chemicals: atrazine, glyphosate, nitrates, formaldehyde, potassium nitrate, neonicotinoids, organophosphates, antibiotics, aluminum, and over 700 more!
As time pushes on and 2020 begins, it is important to acknowledge the value of USDA Organic certification and also take farmer Smith’s good advice and continue to ask questions of the growers and producers of our food regardless of its certification as USDA Organic.
Onward into the new year!
(Frank W. Barrie, 1/1/20)