As growing organic becomes more and more appealing as a “money maker”, the quality of organic food available in stores or even farmer’s markets may be less than buyers would hope for.
Several Years Back Most Folks Coming to Organic Farming Came in One of Two Ways.
- There were those who trusted nature from their beginnings in growing food/animals and wanted to work with nature to produce food as it was intended, without poisons and filled with nutrients. It was their first and only mindset.
- Then there were those who came to organic farming because of some major problem (usually the health of the animals or the health of the farmer) that working with chemicals in conventional agriculture had caused. They were the ones who learned the hard way that conventional agriculture is way off base.
Growing ONLY for Profit
The last I read the percentage of organic sales was 5% of the total food market and growing all the time. With that happening there are more and more people who enter into organic food production ONLY because of the possible return on investment. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with a good return on their investment, the key word in the last sentence is “only”.
Many if not most of these folks may enter organic growing with no previous knowledge of organic concepts and with a mindset that may reflect more of conventional agriculture than working with nature.
Are They in Tune with the “Spirit of the Law” or Do They Only Follow the “Letter of the Law”?
If you’ve been keeping up, you already know that much of big agri-business knows how to keep the “letter of the law” (in order that they may still be labeled as organic), but avoids keeping the real “spirit of the law”. A true organic-work-with-nature strategy produces a much healthier product (be it produce or animal) than just simply not using chemicals or poisons or antibiotics for example.
It’s a sure bet to say that those who enter the field for profit ONLY are prone to any compromises that increase their bottom line.
Taking Responsibility for Your Food
Our society as a whole has given the responsibility for their food over to big agri-business. That’s proved disastrous.
But those of us who have become more aware of what’s going on in the food industry and know the health benefits of “real” organic food, have to take back the responsibility of providing the best food for ourselves and our families. No one else will do it for us — most especially big agri-business — be it organic or conventional.
Our Options and Our Best Bet
For most of us, there will be times when buying organic produce in stores will be the best we can do. In most cases, it would be impossible to know much about the grower of the produce, but at least it won’t have poisons on it.
If we can buy directly from a farmer or grower, it will give us a chance to learn their mindset and how they go about producing food. This certainly would be a better option in our search for good food.
If you are working with nature, adding organic materials to your soil, practicing diversity and the other principles of nature then your very best bet for nutrient dense healthful food is your own garden.
In Closing – An Experience that Proved to Me My Garden Produces More Nutrient Dense Food Than What I Can Purchase Elsewhere
Before I started to garden in the winter and most especially before I started growing mache (which laughs at cold weather) for my everyday winter allotment of lettuce-like greens, I would literally suffer cravings for lettuce in January, February, March and part of April until I could grow enough lettuce to start eating on a daily basis. Grocery store organic bagged lettuce did nothing to stop the cravings (not to mention it has no taste). Thus, I stopped buying organic lettuce from the grocery story about 6 years ago.
For the past two winters I have finally had enough mache (and also lettuce under covers) to have some everyday during the winter. I have not had any cravings in late winter and early spring for two years now. It’s been wonderful!
As you continue to make your plans for your garden, know that you are providing probably the most health giving food your family can get.
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It’s not hard to find foods marked organic these days but that doesn’t mean they are grown from the best of seeds. When I look at them in stores they usually don’t look any different than non organic. I really don’t see much difference in terms of taste so it seems to me they are the same veggies grown without herbicides and pesticides. I think I’ll stick to my heritage veggies. Enjoy your garden. Ray Kent
Good morning, Theresa,
I just love reading this post.
As an organic farmer, I only sell what I grow and mostly eat what I grow, as well.
I see “farmers” at the early markets with big plump tomatoes, squash, etc., that in no way came from SC in April . Where did they get these.? No one asks and no one cares. They just want produce year round as if it was mid summer’s harvest. It disheartens me to think that consumers don’t think twice about knowing your local farmer. and asking where the food came from.
And when you aptly placed “money maker” in quotations it made me smile. There is no price we could charge for all the hard work going into organic production, the hours spent being diligent and the crop loss because Mother Nature didn’t follow our plan.
Anyone going into organic production to make money ?…well, I suspect has no idea how to farm organically! I always say, “It ain’t easy, but it’s worth the loss!”
Thank You again for keeping us informed and educated.
Sad to say, but the profit first mentality applies to much more than just organic farming.
“The love of money is the root of all evil”
THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Do you have any guesstiment of how many people around the world follow you and are inspired to try organic!?!
An aside about cravings: People say buying organic ‘costs’ too much. I notice that I don’t ‘have to’ eat as much to feel satisfied and energized when I eat out of my gardens and buy ‘real-not-fudge-the-numbers’ organic.
On your ‘cloudy’ days please re-remember how meaningful and important your writing is to soooo many of us.
“Our society as a whole has given the responsibility for their food over to big agri-business.” I love this point. We’ve given the responsibility for many things over to other people, haven’t we? Gardening organically is such a wonderful and foundational tool for coming back to the parts of us which are human. It’s wonderful therapy! 🙂 I am excited about how this year’s garden will turn out!
Ray, your observations are right on target. Many organic growers grow the hybrids that have been created for “good shelf life” and for “beauty” rather than taste just as the conventional growers do. As a result we don’t get flavor and all the nutrients from that organic produce.
In the past few years I have made the change to totally open-pollinated and/or heirloom varieties rather than hybrids. (My one exception is Carmen peppers which I can’t seem to resist.) Some may want to review my post https://tendingmygarden.com/garden-seed-heirloom-or-hybrid-information-to-help-make-the-choice/.
Suzanne, you’ve brought up a good point. And your point is the very reason that many have no qualms about making compromises to “organic” for profit’s sake. They feel it is the only way they’re able to make profit. And although it is very possible to make a living from organic, all of us who have gardened/farmed organically and have sold to market know that it’s not always easy. I found much of that difficulty to be in what people “perceive” as how produce should look, what it should cost, and when it should be available. As you said — there is no way that those plump tomatoes and squash come from South Caroline in April and yet folks are programmed to want and buy produce all year no matter where it comes from or how it’s raised.
I agree Suzanne, that with all the hours spent being diligent and all the work involved in raising great organic food for market, no price charged could cover it. And that’s the very reason why we need more organic growers like YOU who have a “real” organic mindset and care very much about what they produce and sell. THANK YOU!
Yes, it is that LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. And what a shame it is so prevalent. Having money to provide for ourselves and our families and live more comfortably is a wonderful thing. But as we all know, the problem comes in when the profit and “getting” money is the only focus and the person or persons have no problem making compromises (sacrificing standards) and doing anything they have to in order to make it. (Monsanto is the ultimate example.)
Thank you Marsha! I appreciate that. When I first starting writing TMG in 2010, Bill and a friend were my only readers. So I was very surprised when I gained a following. You are very special people and I consider you my family. Unfortunately, I don’t know and don’t do all the things necessary to gain a huge following and bring my site to the attention of the masses. I would love to have more readers join TMG, but my following is small compared to folks who have tens of thousands of readers. Nonetheless, you are important to me and as long as you find my writings beneficial I will try to continue to write.
Yes, Patricia, we as a society have given the responsibility for MANY things over to others – our food and our health and the education of our children being some of the most important things. I’m happy to say that many readers like you, are taking back that responsibility.
Getting your feed back and response if my favorite part of writing! Thank you all.
Suzanne@Le Farm – wish you were in my area. There is no one local (w/i 30 miles at least) that carries your mentality. The folks who are able to buy from you are blessed!
Loved the concept, Spirit of the law or Letter of the law. It is true there must be a willingness to garden organically, otherwise you will break the Spirit of the law, which automatically puts one in the category of the Letter of the law. This is where impulse comes from, the Letter of the law. Patience in gardening would be similar to the Spirit of the law. Don’t know if this is what you are intending but it is what I am receiving.
Thank you for the insight.
Steve, I guess each of us can add another dimension to the meaning of spirit of the law vs. letter of the law only.
To put what I meant more simply:
By spirit of the law — I am indicating the real intent of the law.
Following just the letter of the law in most case does not accomplish the same goal.
For example – one could follow the letter of the law and not use poisons or chemicals and may call themselves organic gardeners. Keeping the spirit goes way beyond that and requires following the principles of nature.
Another example is from big agri-business — there’s a company that produces “organic” milk, but has the same bad conditions for the animals that conventional feedlots have. They’re labeled “organic” because they follow the letter of the law, but there is no way they can produce the healthful milk that will be produced when principles of nature are followed.
Hope that better explains my point.
I am new to the site and look forward to learning much – thank you for your care to teach and share – all of you. I need information on successive planting to keep the nourishment going through the summer and most cold months. I do not know when to plant or how much. Seems it should be easy to figure out, but I can eat two spinache plants a day and keeping them from bolting is a problem. Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards and Dandellion are easy. Its the lettuces and micro greens, water cress, arugula that is the problem. I cant afford seeds and space on container gardens. Any suggestions on how to calculate all of the above? Thank you.
Welcome to TMG Aileen!
You’ll want to start reading some of the 600 post on TMG which will help you with all your questions.
Spinach can be a problem plant for many and especially when warm weather hits – it’s ready to bolt.
I’ve written dozens of post dealing with lettuce.
Arugula should be easy. A lot could depend on the variety. My arugula keeps coming back as well as reseeding each year, so I haven’t really planted any in years.
As far as when to plant — if you succession plant – that means you space plantings but continue to plant through out that specific crop’s season.
I’m not sure what you meant by “—and space on container gardens.” Can you explain more?
Do some research on TMG and then feel free to email me with other specific questions.
I’ll help you all I can.