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 probably
>     would do well at small markets and farmers markets, at this time. But
>     then a farmer could combine organic certification with the farmer pledge
>     that MOFFA is promoting and cover all the bases and be able to sell
>     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 inpect
>     your farm.
>     It's a non profit organization. They do ask for donations and they also
>     sell stickers with the CNG logo. You can download brochures online for
>     hand outs explaining the program. The website address is
>     They have a questionaire to cover all aspects of Naturally Grown so
>     inspection is easy and informative to the consumer, too. 
>     I wonder if this program is catching on yet in California?  
>     -----Original Message-----
>     >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 forced
>     >> slaves to the USDA the certifier and the inspector and the state.
>     >> On years like this one with the freeze they make their money even
>     >> when I loose money. hehe . My customers that I had for years
>     >> forced me to be certified after the USDA takeover if I wanted to
>     >> keep selling to them so if I want to tell my customer I'm organic
>     >> 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 third
>     >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. 
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