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Old 09-03-2013, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,327 posts, read 2,222,200 times
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I've been to the state farmer's market probably 100 times and never notice anyone with signs saying "organic", "pesticide free", or anything like that for their produce. I don't need certified organic, as I get that getting the certification can be really pricey. Just wondering if any of you who may know some of the farmers know of any who at least use organic practices on their produce? I could go up and down and ask at every stall, but I won't have to if someone here knows . Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:20 AM
 
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I've rarely seen organic prodipuce at the State Farmer's market, but I have seen several vendors with clearly marked organic produce at the Durham Farmer's Market (if that is an option for you).
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:24 AM
 
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There really aren't very many. Off the top of my head, I can recall 1 or 2 that do vegetables and 1 or 2 that have organic berries. Your best bet is to go on a Saturday when they have the most vendors there. There are many more organic vendors at other markets like Durham, Carrboro, Western Wake, North Hills.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Midtown Atlanta
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Not really an answer to your question, but a sidebar - like you said, getting a USDA Organic certification can be prohibitively expensive for smaller farms.

And I believe that even if they use organic practices, the USDA forbids farmers who haven't gone through the formal certification process from using the term "organic" in their advertising. There are some hefty fines and federal charges for businesses who use the word "organic" when they aren't USDA certified.

Here's an interesting article from NY state: Naturally Grown: An alternative label to organic designation
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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Funny, since the USDA doesn't enforce any of their rules regarding the labelling of foods as "organic".
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Midtown Atlanta
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You mean for the larger farms and companies who have already received (bought) their organic certification?
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:11 AM
 
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You know how in the US, street legal motorcycle helmets have to have a "DOT" certification on them? You know what testing standards are used to determine that safety level? The manufacturer BUYS the right to put that DOT label on their helmet. There are thousands of fake ones sold every year in the US. DOT does not even test the helmets. They randomly select a handful each year and have an independent lab test them. It's very easily faked, and hardly ever enforced.

Similar paths are being taken in my opinion. The FDA has yet to reach any meaningful set of guidelines as to what should constitute "organic". So far it's nothing more than a huge fee paid for the right to call it organic.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Lakewood, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBigKahunaNC View Post
Similar paths are being taken in my opinion. The FDA has yet to reach any meaningful set of guidelines as to what should constitute "organic". So far it's nothing more than a huge fee paid for the right to call it organic.
The reason the FDA doesn't have any regulations for "organic" is that it is not under their jurisdiction. Organic labeling is under the jurisdiction of the USDA. Regulations have been in place since 2002. If you'd like to see more information, it can be found here: Agricultural Marketing Service - National Organic Program.

The program is administered by accredited certification agents throughout the US and Internationally. I have worked in the organic certification industry for about 15 years, and I can assure you, it's much more than fees, and "bought" certification. Every single entity that makes an organic claim and has over $5000 in sales annually must have an Organic System Plan, must be inspected annually, and must submit to random testing for pesticide residues. Processing plants undergo the same scrutiny, and may include testing of equipment to verify no residues of cleansers/sanitizers.

I have been on organic farms and in food processing plants, conducting inspections in 30 states and 5 countries outside the US, verifying compliance with the USDA regulations. I have denied certification for use of prohibited materials; I have had my arms up to my shoulder in "compost" piles that are not actually composting manure because they aren't being managed properly. I have told Fortune 500 companies that a line of product will not be certified, and that product will have to be diverted to conventional production or be destroyed, and then followed up with an unannounced inspection 3 weeks later to verify this had been done (unannounced meaning that I walked in the front door of the facility, and if I was not provided the information requested or was able to view the denied product within 15 minutes, I would have reported it to the certification agent for enforceable action). Since 2011, civil penalties totaling nearly $500,000 have been levied for for farms and food processors found in violation of the regulations.

I spent 8 years in North Carolina working in the organic industry, ensuring compliance with regulations, providing education for farmers, processors and consumers. I served on the board of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), an education, advocacy and outreach organization for organic and sustainable agriculture in the Carolinas. I recently moved to Colorado to manage the state organic program, and am no longer working in the Carolinas, but I find your comments to be insulting, and uninformed. Comments like yours damage the reputation of many, many hard working farmers and small, artisanal food processors who demonstrate a high level of commitment and integrity in providing a safe food supply for Carolinians. I strongly recommend you look into CFSA, or Eastern Carolina Organics, or the New River Organic Growers, and learn about these innovative farms and food processors, before disparaging their hard work.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Since organic foods have not been shown to be nutritionally any better for you than non-organic, I don't see the justification for paying the higher price. It may be shown they have a less negative impact on our environment but at this point, I think that is still theoretical.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabella View Post
Since organic foods have not been shown to be nutritionally any better for you than non-organic, I don't see the justification for paying the higher price. It may be shown they have a less negative impact on our environment but at this point, I think that is still theoretical.
I am always a little surprised when people bring this up. When I buy something that is "Organic" it isn't because I think it is nutritionally better. It's because I don't want vegetables and fruits that have been repeatedly sprayed with chemical herbicides / pesticides and fertilizers and I don't want meat that is jacked up with antibiotics and growth hormones.

I pay the higher price not for better nutrition, but to keep that added crap out of my body.

I wouln't even get into the environmental aspects. If you think the negative impact of fertilizer and and chemical herbicides and pesticides is "Theoretical" I just have no words for that.
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