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Redefining Organic {Week 4 CSA}


You can buy "certified organic" meat raised in a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) that never stepped foot off of cement. You can buy "certified organic" blueberries that never had a single root in actual soil nor a leaf under sunshine, grown via a steady stream of synthetic nutrients and artificial lighting. The organic movement has succumbed to industry-driven dilution.


Since the 1990s, the USDA Organic label has become a beacon of trust and assurance, but behind the organic façade lies a story of corruption and compromised standards. Big agricultural businesses and their relentless lobbying efforts have distorted the very essence of the organic movement, reducing it to a mere baseline requirement rather than an aspirational gold standard of healthy farming practices. It's the same story, different details in the era of a corporate-run planet.


The organic movement was born out of a collective desire for transparency, ecological harmony, and the provision of nutritious food. A handful of tenacious farmers began working in the late 1970's on the creation of legislation to distinguish and protect food grown in healthy soils without synthetic fertilizers and the growing list of toxic biocides that the Green Revolution had convinced farmers to flock to worldwide. In 1990, their undaunted efforts paid of with the creation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), which required that the USDA develop national standards for organic products and a board to regulate and enforce these new standards.


Unfortunately, as the organic market grew exponentially over the subsequent decades, so did the influence of big agricultural corporations. Lobbying powerhouses and industrial farming interests descended upon the USDA, exerting their influence to shape organic regulations in their favor. Sound familiar?


The National Organic Program, once intended to protect small farmers and promote sustainable practices, has become an undeniable victim of corporate interests. Loopholes and compromises in the certification process have allowed large-scale operations to participate while sidestepping some of the core principles of organic agriculture. As a result, the organic label has been diluted, creating confusion and eroding consumer trust. Despite our own efforts to get certified organic (by a large certifier called CCOF), we consider the rules for organic certification as the floor of what practices to use, not the ceiling. The list of "approved" chemicals for organic production are concerning and warrant better research on their actual effects on soil health and microbiall activity. Additionally, the program now primarily focuses on inputs and processes, neglecting critical aspects such as soil health, animal welfare, and ecosystem preservation.


Not all is lost, thankfully. Recognizing the dilution of the organic label, the same group of farmers and advocates who initiated the organic movement more than five decades ago have come together once again to launch the Real Organic Project. This grassroots movement seeks to reconnect consumers with the genuine spirit of organic farming methods. The Real Organic Project aims to promote regenerative practices, prioritize soil health, and ensure fair treatment of animals—values that were central to the original organic movement.


This movement understands that merely relying on government-controlled certification label is not enough to guarantee authenticity. Education and awareness play a vital role in empowering consumers to make informed choices. By creating their own label devoid of lobbying opportunities, along with sharing stories and highlighting the importance of truly organic farming practices, the Real Organic Project aims to foster a deeper understanding of what it truly means to support food grown with the health of people and the planet in mind.


For those concerned about the integrity of the organic label, supporting the Real Organic Project is a tangible step toward reclaiming the original ethos of the movement. By actively seeking out and supporting farmers who have pursued the free-of-charge process of getting certified by the Real Organic Project, consumers can help build a sustainable and resilient food system.


By being a core supporter of our micro high desert farm, you're playing a big part in this important shift towards a healthier future, rooted in living and nourished soils. Thank you for being here.



To have local food up here that has any chance of sustaining our community, "protected culture" (aka growing in greenhouses) is a must. Growing food up here year-round requires heavy infrastructure costs, but local food sovereignty is more than worth it.



Inside Your Box This Week


Red Romaine Lettuce

Cherry Tomatoes

Curly Kale

Red Beets

Scallions

Zucchini

Spinach

Carrots

Basil


 

Recipes Worth Trying...

{click images to go to recipe}



 

For supporting our small organic farm.

For helping pave a way forward for regenerative agriculture.

For investing in young farmers.

For buying local.

We're honored to nourish you!








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