Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Organic farming.

"...reversing priorities - by making organic farming the standard procedure, and chemical farming the certifiable exception. At the moment it is the other way round: organic farmers have to prove they are organic, a process which involves considerable bureaucracy and expense, while chemical farmers can just get on the phone and order a tonne of NPK or a drum of weed killer. Penalising good practice with bureaucracy and certification fees is a bizarre way to encourage it. We don't, for example, make bicyclists and pedestrians prove that they don't drive and then award them a certificate - we make motorists buy a license.

If farmers had to apply for a license to use chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and if food in supermarkets was assumed to be organic unless it had a label on it saying 'produced with the aid of artificial fertilisers and pesticides', then the tables would quickly be turned. Without in any way restricting the public's right to choose, organically produced food would become the norm, once again..."

From MEAT - a Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie.


  1. I completely agree. We looked at the process a few years ago after Chef did an organic farming year long course and it was overwelming, we could not control what the Neighbours did or what they put in the water etc. meanwhile the farmers upstream can pollute the water with chemicals and cow poo and council does nothing!!!
    We appreciate however, that other people DO go to the trouble of going thru the certification process.
    You guys are doing an awesome job!

  2. I guess things may be different in Australia, but here in the UK we have to hold a licence to apply pesticides. The problem is (and I suspect always will be) that consumers have high moral codes eg free range birds and no farrowing crates for pigs, until they see the price. Then too many just buy the cheapest, regardless of welfare or origin.
    There's room and a need for organic and non-organic; we should stop fighting each other and promote good farming practice for both sides.
    I still enjoy your blog even if you are "on the other side".

  3. I love this concept. I have read all the requirements for certification and it is daunting for a new farmer, whereas the chemical option is just so easy. I disagree with Anne that there is room for both methods. Chemical farming degrades the land, organic farming increases fertility, how can chemical farming ever be sustainable? We also need to stop calling chemical farming "conventional", its only been conventional for the last 50 years, before that organic methods were conventional!

  4. so glad you're on the other side! you guys are champs.


  5. Here, here for the "other side"!
    I totally agree and have never thought of it this way.
    It makes me quite pissed off that this is the way it is. What nonsense!
    Organic makes sense. It's only been a relatively short time (in the history of farming) since pesticides became the norm and look what damage they've bloody well done.
    You guys rock big time. Keep up the good work. x

  6. Mark and I have had this same thought now for a while to the point that we are in the process of taking 'organic' off our name. Also the reason that we have decided not to become certified. Why should we pay for doing the right thing, and bundle ourselves in with certain chemical farmers who are hedging their bets with half their farm organic and the other half chemical.

  7. This is one of those things that makes my brain hurt. YES!! To all of that! ALL OF IT!! IT SHOULD BE THE NORM!!!! It makes me especially angry because, cost aside, even if I wanted to (WHICH I DO!!!), I can find very little organic produce up this way, certainly not enough to actually feed us. Unless we could live on organic oranges, apples and bananas… Veggies. I find veggies the hardest to find.

    Am ranting.

    Amen, Kate, amen!

  8. What a fabulous quote. Keep up the good work... hopefully we will see this turn around in our lifetime!

  9. I just wish people would think deeply about the number of allergies and health problems that are around today and make the link between organic food, growing and eating and better health. It can't be a coincidence that allergies and intolerances which were around in tiny numbers in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up are in huge proportions these days.
    Hope your family keeps fighting the good fight,
    best wishes x

  10. TOTALLY agree. Health has to come first but for many families living paycheque to paycheque it's so easy to take the cheaper option. If only we could switch the regs around like you said........

  11. Oh yes please, I so wish it was that way. I have just completed my first 6wk subscription to Food Connect for a box of locally, ethically grown fruit and veg per week. Sadly it will be my only subscription for a good while. As much as I love the produce and the philosophy, we can't afford it on one wage with 3 kids at the moment - the choice: organic food, a rental house with a backyard (rather than our current 2bedroom unit), or swimming lessons for the kids. We currently have swimming lessons, but are looking for a house with a yard. We can't have it all. Hopefully with a backyard we can grow some of our own organic veg!

  12. Totally agree
    We are committed to organics
    We appreciate what you do

  13. sigh*** how wonderful it would be if all food was organic... :-)

  14. Wow, so simple eh?
    Two weeks ago I purchased fresh organic poultry and fresh organic veg. from our local growers' market (only held once a month). I went home and cooked roast chicken and veg. Nothing extravagant but boy...the flavour was awesome. I am prepared to sacrifice a few dollars at each meal to buy organic. Initially I did it for our health's sake, now I do it out of principle.

  15. Never thought of it that way! So true! Then perhaps I could afford to buy organic. Right now it just isn't affordable all the way. Just a bit here and there :( Perhaps then I could put my dollars where I would rather, to homegrown organic farmers like yourself. Thanks for sharing that excerpt. xx Fi

  16. Hear hear!! I'm certain more people would be less inclined to see organic food as 'expensive' when the alternative is labelled 'produced with the aid of artificial fertilisers and pesticides'.

    It truly saddens me the way conventional farming pollutes our environment. Ludicrous! and sadly often irreversible.

  17. Such an excellent view of the topic and one that needs more action to make it so.

  18. I probably should have PUNCTUATED that sentence...?

  19. Right on, thanks for that quote, it makes so much sense! Buy your clothes at op shops, and pay a fair price for food.

  20. Oh Yes! I would love to see our growing practises change and I want to eat more food from our country (Canada), local grown.
    Love your blog.

  21. Yes! Finally a quote I can go to that actually articulates what I try to say when people ask me about organic cotton... One day... one day. Sx

  22. Um, appreciate the passion shown by organic farmers! Also appreciate the lone commenter who put her hand up to say we should appreciate and promote good farming practises on both sides! Try researching the articles which state how much of the world would end up starving if there wasn't non organic farming...look both sides of the fence!

  23. Its crazy isn't it!? XX

    (almost as crazy as people who don't put their name to comments)

  24. It all seems so crazy to me, I have no farming to back up how I feel about organic being the norm, it just makes complete sense to work with nature, why should you have a license to do that! It's been proven again and again with often dire consequences that we should just leave well alone and not tamper with this delicate and Right process! Sometimes here in the uk organic is cheaper, to buy if you are savvy, but I have just got myself an allotment that costs £40 a year, packets of seeds are cheap, and seedlings are grown on my windowsills at home, my aim is to grow as much as possible and I am sure that it will be a lot tastier and healthier than the chemical versions!

  25. Oh my goodness, what a great perspective! So simple and the way it should be obviously.

  26. Great quote...I wish it were like that in the US!

  27. It's madness, the way things are.

  28. Hi Kate, very lovely to come across your blog, and thank you for this post. So true. Even worse, when people say we're eating posh food, when really it's how food should be. Wholesome, unadulterated, pure goodness. You wouldn't like to know what I reply in my head.

  29. Very thought provoking. I love the idea of non-organic food being labelled as produced with chemicals etc and the cycling v motorists licence analogy.

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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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