Well.....after much thought about this whole subject I have to say that I
never have been certified, and never will. When the USDA got involved in
organics, I personally thought it was the end of the organic we had trusted
in the past, after all I have never had any desire to be associated with
Heinz organic ketchup or Dole organic spinach, and Earthbound Farms produce,
grown and washed in perchlorate laden Colorado River water and tended by
migrant (slave) labor. All of the nasty attitudes and exclusive arrogance I
have seen in the Michigan organic community has done zero to create an
interdependent farm community here in Michigan, nothing to create a local
food system, and nothing to encourage other farmers to join or transition to
organic production. I do believe this is the main reason we still (in 2007)
do not have 1 single strong organization for farmers who want to raise food.
I DO use my local feed mill, after having them closed for a couple of years
and having no alternative to buy supplies for the farm but an hour and 1/2
drive or go to the "Wal Mart" of farm stores, now tractor supply, I am
grateful to be able to purchase some locally grown feed and other goods at a
locally owned business 14 miles from my farm. After about 10 years of
working with these folks, the local mill has FINALLY seen a financial reason
to carry organic feed, however they do not have the facility to segregate
everything, I am glad, with global warming and $3.00 gas that they are
trying to help me get what I need. After watching our local farm community
erode to where we have only 10% of the farms in our county 15 years ago, I
am willing to do anything to encourage the remainder to farm better and
transition to a more sustainable farming style, and encourage others to seek
local markets for the FOOD they grow, not just pretend I am so much better
because I have travelled further down the road than some of our peers in
terms of soil health, animal mineralization, etc.
I am really sorry to see you all are still so stuck in your arrogance.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Dunklee" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: OGM and organic vs. local...
> Dr. Tom,
> With Respect....
> I agree to an extent....some of us, however honestly did not have the
> time available to devote to helping with the details. I am proud of my
> OGM and I sincerely thank those who did the "busy work" on our behalf. I
> do resent the tone that we do not or did not care, that is a self
> centered remark. I work "off farm" 70 hours a week. My farm is my
> passion, and my future retirement income...that is the reason I am
> building the infrastructure....maintaining my organic standards...and
> preparing for later federal certification..(when I can afford it, college
> is expensive for 3 children).
> When I can afford to retire in a couple of years (I am 51) I want to
> live off my farm income. It will not be a lot, all of you know farming
> on a small scale often needs outside financial input to "maintain" the
> lifestyle we have chosen. To angrily toss all of us into the group you
> mention is simply not fair, and could be the reason some have stayed in
> the background. Having said that, you are correct that some (most??
> all??) "take advantage" of the organic label, however the ones who are
> doing the most damage to organic standards are not the little guys....it
> is the large corporations. And Pat, I do thank you. And every time I go
> to my mom's house (she passed recently) as I drive by your farm and say
> thank you for all you have done for us......if I see you outside I will
> stop one of these days.
> Related, there is at least one grower near me still using the OGM
> certificate, posted in a local business, to give the public the
> impression they are certified. The business accepted this certificate as
> fact, despite the federal changes. Those are the people you should
> address your note to, not a blanket "Nancy and I left the state and it
> all went to pot"......the federal standard is too expensive for some of
> us smaller people. You left the state in the transition and OGM,s death
> was a result of the cost of federal changes, not your leaving. I won't
> lie and lead the public to believe my farm is certified since the
> expiration of my certificate, but I am proud of maintaining organic
> standards and practices.
> don dunklee
> On Mar 15, 2007, at 11:16 PM, Dr Tom Zennie wrote:
>> The main reason OGM is no longer certifying growers is that the growers
>> themselves didn't give a shit about OGM. The majority of most OGM
>> growers/members only cared about getting their value added organic
>> certification for the cheapest price with the least hassle. It was a
>> great organization while it lasted. We could have easily withstood an
>> audit but there was no one to step up to the plate and take some
>> responsibility for the time and effort to organize the records. Pat
>> Whetham could only do so much. and she did a lot!
>> BTW, the truth be told, the main people for getting OGM accredited with
>> the USDA are : Grey Larison, Pat Whetham, Nancy Zennie and me. No one
>> else even comes in a distant fifth or sixth. Nancy and I left the
>> state and the whole thing went to pot...
>> OGM was a purely volunteer organization of like minded philosophically
>> organic farmers that wanted to help each other and their neighbors raise
>> healthy food. It changed however...
>> p.s. Where are the majority of growers now getting certified? I'd bet
>> they not getting it from the "state organic program"!!!!
>> Zen Sheep Farm
>> Tom and Nancy Zennie
>> 4963 E CR 900 S
>> Cloverdale, IN 46120
>> Phone: 765-795-5526
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Taylor Clarkston Reid"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: "Dr Tom Zennie" <[log in to unmask]>
>> Cc: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:20 AM
>> Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] organic vs. local...
>>> I agree with the importance of certification as well, but am a little
>>> bit uncomfortable with the local versus organic idea. I think they
>>> should compliment each other not fight it out. I don't think all
>>> certified products are the same, and wish there was a way to
>>> differentiate local certified organic. Certified growers should be
>>> rewarded, there is no substitution for that, and meaningless labels
>>> certainly aren't helpful.
>>> At the same time I know from reading old OGM newsletters that the three
>>> of you (Tom, Susan, and Jim) spent a lot of time and energy working on
>>> getting OGM to be an NOP certifier, and it seems pretty messed up to me
>>> that part of the reason it's no longer one is the audit process, when
>>> there are 40 foreign certifiers who have never been audited, not to
>>> mention those programs that have been recognized as 'equivalent' with
>>> no oversight from NOP at all.
>>> I also know from reading the info that the Center for Food Safety's
>>> FOIA request (eventually) yielded, that not all certifiers are the
>>> same, even within the U.S. I am wary of certifiers whose main goal is
>>> profit, and of large organic or mixed conventional/organic operations
>>> for whom the profit motive, not the health of the the soil or the
>>> ecosystem is the main concern.
>>> I think that there is a value to local as well as organic, and though I
>>> agree that certification is essential, I don't think it's a substitute
>>> for knowing your grower. To me, Sue's greens or Jim's mushrooms are a
>>> hell of a lot more valuable and meaningful than something I get in a
>>> box from California or Japan, because I have met them and been on their
>>> farms. There is still an element of trust involved, and for me a green
>>> and white circle, though better than nothing, isn't really enough.
>>> Certified organic is important to me, and I agree there is currently no
>>> viable substitute. But fresh, local, and grown with care and respect
>>> for the the earth is important too.
>>> Taylor Reid
>>> Dr Tom Zennie writes:
>>>> I second Jim's statements. Without a third party oversight this whole
>>>> thing could be loaded with fraud. Some of these same "natural" farmers
>>>> still use agricultural products from the "local" elevator. The same
>>>> GMO corn and soybeans that the organic people would definitely lose
>>>> certification over! A lot of these same people also still think that
>>>> roundup herbicide is OK because it so short lived...
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: Jim Moses To:
>>>> [log in to unmask] Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 10:57 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: FW: [SANET-MG] organic vs. local... Regarding Certified
>>>> Naturally Grown--
>>>> I checked this label out two years ago and was not impressed.
>>>> They claimed that their "standards" were the same as NOP. But at that
>>>> time you could access application forms of certified growers and many
>>>> listed violations of NOP standards like prohibited inputs, commercial
>>>> transplants, treated seed etc.
>>>> It is time to deal seriously with nostalgia for the "good old
>>>> days" of organic agriculture, that never really existed. The fraud
>>>> and ignorance that existed when everyone had their own standard is
>>>> nothing we should want to return. There is a cost involved in
>>>> offering the public third-party certified organic products. Anyone
>>>> who wants to make these claims should be willing to contribute. If
>>>> you want to identify who is getting the short end of the stick, ask
>>>> yourself this. What about the growers who pay their dues and receive
>>>> no protection from the state and federal agencies who are pledged to
>>>> eliminate fraud? What about the increasing number of questionable
>>>> labels backed by foundation money that undermine certified organic?
>>>> What about the whole phony "Local" verses "Organic" campaign that
>>>> clearly has some BIG money behind it? Divide and conqueror, it is an
>>>> old story, but it still works. Jim Moses Vicki Morrone
>>>> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> Hey folks
>>>> This is an interesting alternative to certified organic and
>>>> would do well at small markets and farmers markets, at this time.
>>>> then a farmer could combine organic certification with the farmer
>>>> that MOFFA is promoting and cover all the bases and be able to
>>>> foods labeled organic. Have you looked into Certified Naturally
>>>> Grown? It's a great
>>>> alternative and self governing as it was in the old days of
>>>> Organic. You
>>>> rely on other local farmers, customers or the County Extension to
>>>> your farm.
>>>> It's a non profit organization. They do ask for donations and they
>>>> sell stickers with the CNG logo. You can download brochures online
>>>> hand outs explaining the program. The website address is
>>>> They have a questionaire to cover all aspects of Naturally Grown
>>>> inspection is easy and informative to the consumer, too. I wonder
>>>> if this program is catching on yet in California? -----Original
>>>> >From: Douglas Hinds >Sent: Mar 10, 2007 3:03 PM
>>>> >To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> >Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] organic vs. local... >
>>>> most left because of the State and USDA take over of the
>>>> >> word organic, we were the volunteers of America now we are
>>>> >> slaves to the USDA the certifier and the inspector and the
>>>> >> On years like this one with the freeze they make their money
>>>> >> when I loose money. hehe . My customers that I had for years
>>>> >> forced me to be certified after the USDA takeover if I wanted
>>>> >> keep selling to them so if I want to tell my customer I'm
>>>> >> I have to pay the organic police. >
>>>> >We knew this would happen, ahead of time, of course (and there
>>>> >weren't that many of us that knew what to expect).
>>>> >> I pay a organic tax because I don't use anything.
>>>> >You pay the penalty for the OFPA's having the wrong focus. (And
>>>> >party certification became a big industry, with greater authority
>>>> >than the farmers themselves, thanks to OFPA).
>>>> >> I have to fill out reports and pay the USDA saying I don't use
>>>> >> anything while the USDA will not label GMOs, pesticides,
>>>> >> herbicides, fertilizers that kill life on the earth. Its all
>>>> >> backwards.
>>>> PeoplePC Online
>>>> A better way to Internet
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