Friday, May 23, 2008

Recently I read an article on the Rodale Institute website about how many organic farmers in California were opting out of organics and going back to conventional farming. Many of them simply dropped their certification and continued to farm exactly the same way they always did... organically. Almost to a person, those interviewed said it was simply to expensive and too labor intensive to continue to be certified. One farmer said it cost him $1800 to grow an acre of certified organic spinach versus $300 to grow the same field conventionally. And with the cost of fuel and supplies going up on an almost weekly basis, there will be more farmers "jumping ship" in the near future.

Since many consumers are very uneducated about exactly what "certified organic" really means they are opting to shop for price instead of for the quality and safety of their food supply. And I totally understand that. If I didn't have 17 acres of organic food right out my back door, I am not sure I would be able to be as "organic" as I am now. I am able to spend my food budget on what many people consider organic luxury items since we grow 90% of what we eat.

Even conventional food prices are rising in some part of even this country to levels where middle and upper middle class families are cutting back on some things. Having a source for local produce and other food products is a blessing for many people because there are so many parts of the country where there is extremely limited access. Having a source for local certified organic produce is unheard of in many areas, especially in North Carolina.

Shopping at local farmer's markets is a great way to supply the weekly produce (and other needs, depending on the market) for your family. Even better is belonging to a CSA because over the entire length of the season you will save substantially on your fresh food costs and be provided with an array of produce you might not otherwise have access to. While being in a CSA is a gamble, if the farmer is good at what he does, the reward is well worth the inherent risk of belonging to a CSA.

At New Moon Farm, we are dedicated to our members and they are the ones we consider with nearly every spade of dirt that is turned in the gardens. Because of the great diversity of varieties grown, and the way we grow them, we don't face total crop failures, even in the most extreme conditions (drought last year, for example). We grow what we call "micro-crops", sometimes only 3-4 rows of something rare or especially hard to grow, so that our members can be exposed to things they would never have the opportunity to experience. While a weekly share may sometimes be smaller than we anticipate on a given week, there has never been a week where members only got 1 or 2 items in their box. And when there is bounty, everybody shares in that bounty.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

San Francisco-America's First Eco-City

We lived on the West Coast for a number of years, almost dead center between Seattle and San Francisco. Either one was about a 6-7 hour drive and we often headed south to Frisco for a long weekend when we could get away. I have been in love with this city since I first visited in 1968, at the height of its "hippie" days. Over the years, as I visited at different ages and stages in my life, I came to love its diversity, beauty and just the very energy of the place. If I had to pick my favorite city in the world, it would be Paris (which I love with a passion), with San Fancisco coming in a close second. So, I was very interested to read the article on how the city is turning into the "greenest, organic" city in America. The link below will take you the the MSN Travel article in its entirety.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


"The Cornucopia Institute is dedicated to the fight for economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Through research, advocacy, and economic development our goal is to empower farmers both politically and through marketplace initiatives. The Organic Integrity Project acts as a corporate watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit. We will actively resist regulatory rollbacks and the weakening of organic standards to protect and maintain consumer confidence in the organic food label."

The Cornucopia Institute is a non-profit watchdog organization that is doing tremendous things to protect the integrity of organics which affects anyone who cares about this issue...and we should all care about it since it affects our food supply and our environment.

This organization has an incredible website covering issues that affect us all. Articles are excellent, with information that is clear and easy for every one to understand. I highly recommend that you become involved in what is happening to your food source. If you care about the planet, you should be involved. If you care about your children, you should be involved. JUST BE INVOLVED!!!! Get on their email newsletter and updates list today!

Read the most recent (May 12th) update about the integrity of the Horizon Dairy Label controversy. This has been raging on for a long while now and is heating up again. If you buy Horizon products and were unaware of the situation with this company, this would be a good introduction to what is going on with them. (Links below are live so just click).

These huge corporations are the reason that some people are starting to doubt the National Organic Program. Since they are the headline grabbers, small dilligent farmers who are really invested in the ideals of organics are being mostly ignored because their small voice is nothing compared to a giant conglomerate with money to hire lobbyists and lawyers. When organic consumers only shop for price and don't look at the issues behind the organic label, we all suffer in the end.
America’s Largest Corporate Dairy Processor Muscles Its Way into Organics
Clout-Heavy Dean Foods Kills USDA Investigation of Their Horizon Label

On the Cornucopia website, there is also some excellent information about which huge corporations own organic labels. Lots of folks buy organic from what they assume are small family owned companies. Nothing could be further from the truth in many cases. See whose pocket your organic dollars are going into. BUY LOCAL and stop organic tyranny. If that sounds a little dramatic, visit this website and you might not think so anymore.