Purging Organic

On my “About” page I no longer describe myself as an organic farmer.  That’s gone from my Disqus profile as well.  Our website and facebook pages no longer say we grow our vegetables organically.

We’ve had to remove the word “organic” from any description of our farm, because we faced stiff fines and a government shutdown of our farm if we didn’t.

We have never sought any government certification of our farm and never will.  We’ve never claimed to be “Certified Organic” by the U.S.D.A and our limited use of the word “organic” has been in its ordinary common meaning and usage.  Nevertheless, that word now belongs to the government it seems, so we purged it.

We were motivated to do so by a friend whose website said he used “organic practices.”  That statement, which was true, got him an $11,000 fine, as did two other true statements on his site which also used the O word.  He immediately changed his site and the fines were suspended. He was given a Cease and Desist Order instead.  As part of their investigation the Organic Police interviewed the manager of the farmers’ market searching for evidence that our friend falsely claimed Certified Organic status–a ridiculous allegation given that he proudly displays his “Certified Naturally Grown” status (a nongovernmental alternative for chemical-free farmers who don’t want to jump through government hoops).  They may have also talked to his customers.

We use no toxins on this farm.  We don’t even use the toxins the U.S.D.A. allows “Organic” farms to use.  I suppose we are, to use Joel Salatin’s term, “beyond organic.”  But actually he probably doesn’t say that about his farm any more.  It’s probably illegal to do so.