I like to warn folks to be careful with “industrial organic” food. Many agribusinesses are preying on the demand for natural and organic food, by offering up their industrial garbage with a USDA “certified organic” stamp of approval. Often this industrial organic food is produced on large monocultural operations in California or abroad. If the USDA certification requirements are being met at all, they are often merely being satisfied technically, but in ways that are unnatural and unsustainable.
It is perhaps ironic that some of the industrial producers of “organic fertilizer” used by the large Western organic farm industry have recently been exposed as frauds. At least four California manufacturers of “organic fertilizer” have recently been discovered offering adulterated products. Port Organic Products of Bakersfield, for example, sells “organic fertilizer” allegedly made from ground-up fish, and until recently was supplying about half the fertilizer used by California organic farms. But an investigation recently revealed that POP has been using aqua ammonia in the production of its fertilizer. Storage tanks holding petroleum-based nitrogen fertilizer were also discovered last month at another major facility in California, where ostensibly “organic” fertilizer was being produced.
This is a profitable form of fraud. Synthethic nitrogen is about 20 times cheaper than approved sources such as ground-up fish carcasses or chicken feathers.
It is unfortunate that folks paying exhorbitantly high prices for something they believe to be “organic” are often actually getting industrial food grown on large monocultural operations, where the crops are fertilized with synthetic nitrates.
As I’ve often suggested, you can avoid this kind of fraud by buying your food from local farmers whose practices are known to you. Ask them how they fertilize.
On our farm we make our own compost. That compost is our fertilizer, along with the litter from our henhouse. We don’t buy “fish emulsion” or anything like that to spray on our food. We are in no danger of being defrauded by the liars and cheats who have been supplying the California organic industry.