WHY NOT CERTIFY?
Since the passage of the 2004 Organic Certification Act, the term “organic” has been essentially gutted by multi-national corporations such as Monsanto and Dow, who have lobbied to have organic standards tailored to fit their ecologically-destructive persticides, fundicides, herbicides, and seeds. For example, a farmer can use any of a number or quantity of broad-spectrum, soil-sterilizing chemicals on a farm and still have their produce labeled “organic.” The term “organic” is no longer an indicator of a farmer’s commitment to the health of the soil and the health of the organisms that support soil ecosystems (and ultimately the health of the people who eat the products of that soil). “Organic,” while it indicates that a certain amount of attention has been paid to certain standards set by the USDA(ones that allow the application of over 200 chemicals, including petro-chemicals, onto the soil), says nothing about a farmer’s commitment to the stewardship of the land.
Then what’s all the fuss about organic this and organic that? Basically, the Monsantos and Dows and Earthbound Farms of the world have realized that there’s lots of money in a niche market of products sold with the label “organic,” or “natural.” The fact that there are now govermental standards for “organic” gives these agri-giants leverage in a marketplace in which small, locally-based farmers generally can’t compete (because, when done on a smaller scale, the price of a head of organic lettuce is just more than when that same head is grown on a 1000-acre, fully mechianized factory farm). At Open Heart Farm, we are bowing out of the competition. We are not interested in cashing in on the fraudulent use of the term “organic” at the expense of the health of the land, local foodsheds, and our own communities (and to the benefit of the agri-monsters currently destroying the planet). We believe that to attach the “organic” label to the vegetables and flowers we grow would be to validate the harmful business and farming practices common to what are essentially the conventional, mono-crop, petro-guzzling, worker-exploiting farms that the Organic Movement was once trying to shake into consciousness.
At Open Heart Farm, we believe in the power of representation! The images and messages that constantly surround us play a powerful role in what choices we make on a day to day basis. By being farmers who just say no to playing into the USDA’s claim to ownership of a word (“organic”), we’re hoping to develop a community of farm members and local buyers interested in truly affirming the values of land stewardship. As a member or buyer of Open Heart Farm, you can be assured that what you eat and smell and touch from our farm will nourish you and the soil it was grown in. We do not apply systemic fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides. We use compost teas and lots of compost and hand cultivation. We are committed to growing healthy land and relationships to it, not 800-pound pumpkins or 20 pound cabbages. By choosing your food mindfully (stopping to think before quickly picking whatever is labeled “organic” off a shelf) you will be saying no to participation in the ruin of what was once a community-based movement to create a new sense of partnership with the land, including its use in growing food. By sidestepping the niche “organic” market, you make room for a new generation of locally-based genuinely ethical growers of food, who can provide you with a true link to your surroundings and to its weedy, buggy, tasty, and nutritious health.
for a breakdown of just what's been happening