Most in our society have lost track of the fact that good health comes from real food. Real food is from healthy soil and is packed with nutrients and free from poisons and other chemicals.
Unfortunately some of the biggest companies that control our food
(directly or indirectly) are interested only in making a profit rather than also offering healthful food.
They have the money to hire the best lobbyists to influence law making; and the means to form the beliefs of the masses via promotion and marketing.
They’re also able to infiltrate any organic programs that exist and – given enough time — can determine the laws and guidelines being set for organic. (Which they have already done.)
This is by far one of the greatest detriments to our health.
It’s all very subtle and unless we question and are aware, we’ll fall right into line and believe exactly what they want us to believe; thus, increasing their profit and decreasing our health.
Corporate Influence Takes Over the National Organic Program
In the past decade it’s become obvious that organic farming is more than a passing fad and that there’s money to be made. Thus, it’s attracted corporate attention.
Unfortunately, many of these businesses are only interested in following enough of the rules to gain organic certification. Better yet, they would much prefer to change the law (regarding organic) to go along with how they already do things.
They’ve already done that to a great degree.
One example is the recent vote (November 1, 2017) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to allow hydroponic productions to be eligible for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification.
Seemingly, it would be impossible for hydroponics to be eligible for organic certification, because to grow real organic requires soil. And there is no soil in hydroponics.
So how did they do it?
They changed the definition of organic (took the soil part out) so they wouldn’t have to change how they do things to qualify for organic certification.
This will have far reaching affects. And will influence the standards for the rest of the world.
Changing the Definition Doesn’t Change Facts
Dave Chapman has farmed organically for 37 years (Long Wind Farm in Vermont) and served a year on the USDA hydroponic task force.
He had this to say about changing the definition for organic:
“The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has the legal right to define organic in keeping with OFPA (Organic Foods Production Act). But it has never been given permission to reinvent organic in order to serve the market needs of favored enterprises.
The NOP (National Organic Program) was created to serve and protect, not to reinvent. Hard-won trust in the organic seal is being destroyed, and it will not be easily won back.
—When organic certification is reduced to a marketing strategy that misleads consumers, it loses its soul, and it will soon lose its followers as well.”
Another Example of How Corporate Take-Over Happens
It was disappointing to many to see the Organic Trade Association lobby in favor of the NOSB change to include hydroponics in organic certification.
Businesses in the organic community can join the Organic Trade Association (OTA) by paying a membership fee (dues). Dues, which are based on the company’s organic sales, range from a low of $50 to $47,300.00 for sales over two billion. An additional $5,000 in dues is added for each billion in sales over the two billion mark.
Driscalls, the world’s largest distributor of conventionally grown and supposedly “organically” grown berries, is in this last category and is a core member of OTA.
Over 1,000 acres of their organic berries are hydroponic. All grown in a bucket filled with coconut husks with feed coming in by dripper.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that OTA lobbied in favor of the change to include hydroponics in organic certification.
It must have been upsetting for members of OTA who grow “real” organic food and had no say in this.
How Can You Tell If Produce is Hydroponic?
In most cases, you can’t.
In spite of the fact that more than 35% of the organic tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in grocery stores are hydroponically produced they are not labeled. And no one says they have to be.
The Miracle of Soil
In the last decade science has learned so much about the miracles of the soil, and they’re just scratching the surface.
Eliot Coleman, pioneer organic farmer and author, put it simply and well:
“There is no way that an artificial system can duplicate what is going on in the soil.”
Still Believe the Popular Idea That Chemicals (often referred to as “science”) Can Duplicate What Nature Offers?
At the end of this section I’ll give the web address to a video that’s a great place to start your education about why and how that idea is incorrect.
This 48 minute video is well worth your time! Dr. Schultz (a pioneer in herbal medicine) can be very entertaining and that’s a bonus. So this is NOT a stuffy, boring video.
In explaining why ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C, he makes the point of the folly of trying to outdo nature.
For example: Vitamin C from food is composed of over 5,000 compounds that scientist have found thus far.
Synthetic Vitamin C is one chemical: ascorbic acid.
At the end of the video Schultz speaks about chemical synthetics not being the same as the real thing.
Synthetic “anything” is created in the first place because it’s cheaper to make than from the real thing. In this case he’s talking about vitamins, but the same concept applies to other things like vegetables. (Hydroponics for example.)
If you’re interested in learning and pulling out of the programming that most of us have been subjected to, I encourage you to watch this video as soon as possible. And remember to bookmark it, because it’s one that you’ll want to watch more than once in order to absorb every piece of information given.
Update September 2022 – Dr. Schulze has shortened this video to 1 1/2 minutes. It was originally part of a talk that gave much more information as I’ve indicated above. But he still makes the point. To watch, cut and paste this url into your browser: https://www.herbdoc.com/blog/ascorbic-acid-vs-real-vitamin-c
Board Member Lays Out the Facts for Public Record in Farewell Address
Francis Thicke has been an organic farmer for more than 30 years. He’s been active in many organic and environmental organizations and served as a National Program Leader for Soil Science at the USDA Extension Service.
Dr. Thicke, a scientist specializing in soil fertility with working knowledge of agricultural and food chemistry, served as a member of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) for 5 years.
At the NOSB meeting in November his term on the Board ended and he gave his farewell address which is now public record.
This was important because Dr. Thicke was very specific in pointing out how organic principles had not been adhered to and showed the lack of integrity in the National Organic Program.
#1 – Almost immediately he mentioned that the industry has a “growing influence on the US Dept. of Agriculture and on appointments to the National Organic Standards Board compared to the influence of organic farmers who started the organic farming movement.”
#2 – “We now have ‘organic’ chicken CAFOs with 200,000 birds crammed into a building with no real access to the outdoors, —”
#3 – “We have ‘organic’ dairy CAFOs with 15,000 cows in a feedlot in a desert, — — when USDA does its obligatory “investigation,” instead of a surprise visit to the facility, USDA gives them a heads up by making an appointment, so the CAFO can move cows from feedlots to pasture on the day of inspection.”
#4 – He spoke of the large grain shipments from eastern Europe that are raised conventionally and relabeled as organic before they reach the United States.
(I believe Peter Whoriskey, a Washington Post reporter, was the first to bring this story to light. You can read it here: https://tinyurl.com/y8us9auk)
Thicke also pointed out that “The USDA has been slow to take action to stop this, and organic crop farmers in the US are suffering financially as a result.”
Our farmers find it difficult to get a fair price for their organic grains because the larger end users will buy the cheaper imported grains.
#5 – “— a rapidly growing percentage of the organic fruits and vegetables on grocery store shelves (are) being produced hydroponically, without soil, and mostly in huge industrial-scale facilities.”
#6 – “— we have a hydroponics industry that has deceptively renamed ‘hydroponic’ production—even with 100% liquid feeding—as ‘container’ production.”
(Container grown vegetables that use soil can qualify for organic certification.)
#7 – Nearing the end, he expressed his hope of years back that through continuous improvement the USDA organic label would be the gold standard.
Dr. Thicke then states, “Now I can see that the influence of big business is not going to let that happen. The USDA is increasingly exerting control over the NOSB, and big business is tightening its grip on the USDA and Congress. Recently industry representatives have publicly called on the US Senate to weaken the NOSB and give industry a stronger role in the National Organic Program.”
#8 – He suggested an “add-on organic label that will enable real organic farmers and discerning organic consumers to support one another through a label that represents real organic food.”
Is This the Downfall of the National Organic Program?
In closing his remarks Dr. Thicke stated, “Either we can continue to allow industry interests to bend and dilute the organic rules to their benefit, or organic farmers—working with organic consumers–can step up and take action to ensure organic integrity into the future.”
As consumers, we have to stay informed enough to enable us to protect ourselves and our families. None of us can know it all or keep up with it all. And most of the time we don’t have to. Sometimes just reading headlines will alert you to what’s happening. You may not need more details until some time in the future.
Hopefully this post will arm you with the overall information you need to make wise decisions about what you’re going to do.
One suggestion – grow as much of your own food as you can. If you need help, I’m here.
Related Posts and Suggested Reading
Has the National Organic Program Already Been Destroyed? (I wrote this in 2014)
If you’d like to read Dr. Thicke’s address in its entirety cut and paste this url into your browser: https://www.keepthesoilinorganic.org/
On that same page you can click to watch a video with Dave Chapman and Eliot Coleman.
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