This message comes from our listserv members, Nancy Keiser. Thank you
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Subject: FW: Fwd: GR Press article on local organic boom



	>>To those of you who are certified organic growers, this
article was stated to be an article on "organics." 

	Following this email will be another email that questions the
author's article & the confusion he has created and then his response to
my questions. We have a lot of educating to do if his main intention was
to do an article on "organics."

	Feel free to write a response if you are interested.  Grand
Rapids Press.

	Peace, Nancy Jones Keiser 
	>>-----Original Message-----
	>>From: Farms Without Harm [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
	>>Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 1:16 PM
	>>To: farms without harm
	>>Cc: gail
	>>Subject: GR Press article on local organic boom
	>>In case you missed it...
	>>Picks of the crop regarding organic foods
	>>Sunday, July 09, 2006
	>>By Matt Vandebunte
	>>The Grand Rapids Press
	>>A pair of bumblebees buzzed amid the chirping birds as Mary
	>>Halloran emerged from a field with a bag of freshly picked
peas in  
	>>her hand and a black dusting of dirt on her legs.
	>>"Look at that soil," she marveled and held up the garden
	>>"You can take your kids here and show them 'Hey, this is where
	>>  stuff comes from. It doesn't come from a supermarket.'"
	>>The Grand Rapids woman and 250 other customers are making
	>>treks this summer to buy organic food at Trillium Haven Farm
	>>Georgetown Township.
	>>U.S. organic sales have increased by close to 20 percent
	>>for several years, as much as 10 times the rate for
	>>Annual sales of certified-organic food reached nearly $14
	>>in 2005, making up 2.5 percent of all retail food sales.
	>>And that's not counting the farm-direct buying done at
	>>free" growers such as Trillium Haven.
	>>From street markets to health-food stores to restaurants,  
	>>businesses are finding expanded outlets for their organic
	>>Jim and Barb Loe, of Grant, began their business in the
	>>Now, Funny Farm Organic Produce grows about seven acres of  
	>>certified-organic vegetables that are sold at farm markets and

	>>Harvest Health Foods stores.
	>>"We started out basically as a garden for the family, and it
	>>grew from there," said Jim Loe, who installed roofing and
	>>before becoming a farmer. "We just didn't want chemicals in
	>>food for our family.
	>>"(At first) every time we'd go to market, people would ask us
	>>  does organic mean?' More people are becoming aware."
	>>Companies jump in
	>>Organic -- a method of producing food that does not use toxic

	>>pesticides and chemical fertilizers -- has moved beyond farm 
	>>Old Orchard Brands in Sparta joined the movement in 2004. Now
	>>nation's sixth-largest producer of bottled juice, it received
	>>USDA certification that year for organic apple and grape
	>>Up in the Leelanau Peninsula, Leland Cherry Co. announced last
	>>  its tart-cherry products will be distributed by Whole Foods 
	>>Market,  the Texas-based grocery chain that is a leading 
	>>distributor of  natural and organic foods.
	>>Multinational companies and retail giants are taking notice.
	>>Wal-Mart Inc. has asked suppliers to increase organic product

	>>lines, and Kellogg Co. has launched organic versions of Rice  
	>>Krispies, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Raisin Bran cereals.
	>>Michigan's largest grocery chain, Meijer Inc. stocks 40 to 60
	>>  organic produce items and 15 to 20 dry organic products such
	>>raisins, croutons and dressings, said Jim Spilka, vice
president of 
	>>  produce.
	>>"It's more than a niche," he said. "You have organic customers
	>>all markets. It is one of our fastest-growing categories."
	>>Shoppers are driving the surge in demand, said Ronnie Cummins,

	>>national director of the Organic Consumers Association.
	>>"Health is cited by two-thirds of (consumers) as their primary

	>>reason for starting to shift to organic," he said. "It's a
	>>street that very few consumers ever go back, and over time
they buy 
	>>  more and more."
	>>Organic foods generally cost more to produce because they are
	>>  without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. But it also
tends to 
	>>  give farmers a bigger return on investment since it sells
	>>higher prices.
	>>Many farms are labeled "organic" for meeting U.S. Department
	>>Agriculture regulations, while others abide by the organic  
	>>philosophy without pursuing certification.
	>>"There's no reason to use poisons if you're going to grow food
	>>eat," said Nancy Keiser, a certified organic grower at
	>>& Health Alive LLC in Marne. "We want to do things according
	>>God's plan."
	>>Price squeeze possible
	>>As supply aims to get in line with demand, some smaller
	>>worry about the impact of large-scale retailers getting into
	>>Greater availability might lead to more awareness of organic
	>>but it also could drive down prices and reduce the profit
	>>that enables small, organic farmers to survive.
	>>For example, 2004 wholesale prices for organic broccoli were
	>>percent higher than conventional broccoli, according to a USDA

	>>study. Organic carrots brought a 148 percent premium.
	>>"I'm afraid the 'organic' word is going to become diluted,"
	>>Cathy Halinski, who farms seven acres of organic fruit at
	>>  Lane Farm in Fennville. "It's a whole different philosophy
	>>growing. It's a relationship with the land and the people we
	>>from it."
	>>Susan Smalley, a specialist at Michigan State University's  
	>>Extension Service, said large growers are becoming curious
	>>making the switch to organic.
	>>"Ten years ago, if you even heard the 'O' word in a group of  
	>>conventional farmers, you'd get dirty looks," Smalley said.
"In a  
	>>number of cases, farmers can do better growing and marketing  
	>>(higher priced) organic."
	>>But that margin could get squeezed by price-conscious
	>>such as Wal-Mart, Smalley said.
	>>"There's a big question in many people's minds about what's
	>>to happen to the market," she said. "At least in other product

	>>lines, they (Wal-Mart) seem willing to go across the globe to
	>>what they want."
	>>Cummins fears Wal-Mart and other large retailers might push
	>>  supply chains overseas to drive down prices.
	>>He argues farm subsidies should be given to help U.S. growers
	>>the transition to organic.
	>>"We're still subsidizing conventional crops, but we're not
	>>to the future," Cummins said. "The writing is pretty much on
	>>wall. (Organic growers) are the small farms that are making
	>>"(After three years), they don't really need any subsidies
	>>they get a fair price for their product."
	>>Some towns are doing their part to support those farmers.
	>>For example, Woodbury County in Iowa this year enacted a
	>>requiring purchase of organic food grown within 100 miles for

	>>county functions that include food. The county also provides
	>>incentives to farms for organic conversions.
	>>Though conventional food might be cheaper, the organic
	>>argues the costs associated with pollution from pesticides,  
	>>government crop subsidies and diet-related health problems
make it  
	>>pricier in the long run.
	>>Room for everyone
	>>The Organic Trade Association thinks the alarm is unwarranted.
	>>Large food corporations will play a role in growing the
	>>business. As they increase demand, more growers will make the

	>>switch, said Barbara Haumann, spokeswoman for the group which

	>>represents 1,700 farmers, retailers and corporations like
Kraft and 
	>>  Dole.
	>>"Somehow, 'large' has gotten a bad rap," she said. "Some
	>>think the sky is falling for the small farmer.
	>>"There's room for all size farmers in organic."
	>>At the other end of the retail spectrum is Harvest Health
	>>It is a small family business that sells organic products,  
	>>including ice cream, chocolate bunny grahams and dog biscuits,
	>>its three stores in Grand Rapids, Cascade Township and
	>>It does not even try to compete with Wal-Mart or Meijer. A
	>>of organic milk at its Hudsonville store fetches $4.99 and
	>>go for $4.59 per pound.
	>>"We'll continue to be a niche player," owner Henry Atsma said.

	>>"Everything you see in a conventional store you'll find in a  
	>>natural store, but it's not going to have the chemicals and 
	>>"Our belief is that it is much healthier. (Comparing prices)
	>>kind of like how does a 200-mile-per-hour Ferrari compete with
	>>Freshly picked
	>>Dave and Helen Lundberg have operated Ingraberg Farm east of  
	>>Rockford for 18 years, and still use a rototiller and
	>>planter to farm about 22 acres.
	>>They believe global organic-supply chains cannot compete with
	>>freshness of farm-direct produce.
	>>"I'm not fearful because I have 100 percent confidence in the

	>>quality and flavor and nutrition of our produce," Helen
	>>said. "(Customers) know it has not been on a truck for seven
to 10  
	>>Among Ingaberg's customers is the popular Grand Rapids
	>>Bistro Bella Vita.
	>>About 20 percent of the menu there featured organic
	>>when the restaurant opened in 1997. That portion now stands at

	>>about three-fourths, general manager James Berg said.
	>>Organic costs the restaurant about 20 percent more than  
	>>conventional food, Berg said, but buying locally saves on the

	>>middleman and transportation costs.
	>>Especially as gas prices rise, farmers will find growing
	>>from restaurants for locally produced, chemical-free produce,
	>>"In another five to six years, this will be the norm,
	>>with what's going on with energy," Berg said.
	>>At Trillium Haven, Anja Mast talks about how time is running
out on 
	>>  a gasoline-based conventional food system. And taking the
	>>  label and "ratcheting it up to the industrial food model" is
	>>solution, she said.
	>>"The thing that will save us all is small farms," said the
	>>old Mast, who six years ago started the 50-acre farm on
	>>Lake with her husband, Michael VanderBrug.
	>>"We don't need to talk about this as a moral, ethical problem.

	>>Let's talk about energy use. It's all about efficiency.

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