Starting in October 2002, the USDA took over “the word organic”, requiring all growers to certify in order to advertise as organic. In a CSA, the communication between consumers and growers makes it easier to explain our sustainable practices without using “the word”. They can ask or come see about any and all of our farm procedures.
It’s a political game and scary to have big business buying into organic. Many small farm growers are unhappy with the overtaking. The new policies are price inhibitive for small farm budgets, overly bureaucratic, supportive of big business farms, and lost of the essence of what organic has meant to the farmers that made it popular over the past decades.
We have joined the ranks of many farms and have become Certified Organic. Although certification (and the organic word) is not necessary to our CSA.
I present these issues to you, so that you can be aware of the politics of Certified Organic. Support local small farms even if they aren’t organic, as long as you have a chance to ask about their farm practices. You might find other words popping up in advertising or at Farmers Markets—Naturally Grown, Chemical-free, Wholesome, and Mad Farmers are among those I’ve heard. Now you know why.