I just came in from the barn after helping Nancy pull a unusually large lamb
from a small ewe lamb.
Boy, What a firestorm I started. I'm glad I did. Otherwise we may not have
received the great insight and heartfelt statements that both Pat and Jim
shared with us! I so agree with these truly long time members of old OGM,
Jim Moses and Pat Whetham.
OGM had about 125-150 certified members as of 2004, (2005? and 2006??) and
it was such a shame that a "local" organization could not have persisted in
Michigan given it's hallowed history in organic farming. OGM truly was
always a friend of the small farmer and with our previous local chapters,
the local farmers. I was also concerned that MOFFA did not do more to
preserve OGM.. (Sorry, Pat). Fact: OGM was the second oldest organic
certifier in the US, OGM also had the second oldest web site. Both of the
aforementioned second place facts were because of California! OGM was the
first certifier to publish their organic regulations on the web however.
And Donald, you are not so unique, virtually everyone associated with the
management and success of OGM also had full time jobs and kids in grade
school, high school and college! We all just had a vision and took the time
to put it into action.
We are certified organic by Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association.
The application is very similar to OGM's including the application forms.
and the inspection. Pretty straight forward except it's about $200 more
than OGM. We continue to have more demand than we have product even though
we have tripled our operation. Virtually none of our customers including the
health food stores would be carrying our lamb if it weren't certified
organic. They now know the difference between "natural" and certified
organic. Being local additionally is also a definite plus with all our
customers. Giving farm tours to our potential retail customers and our
individual customers has always given us another advantage compared to the
nationwide suppliers. I can tell you that these mega farms that are
certified organic would have quite a time of it trying to convince their
customers and consumers that they are different from their conventional
counterparts. I know the similarities since I was also a IOIA trained farm
Question: where are all the former OGM certified farmers getting their
organic certification?? ( besides those that are committing fraud like
Donald observed)? "You don't miss the water till the well runs dry"
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Dunklee" <[log in to unmask]>
To: "Dr Tom Zennie" <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 10:12 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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