Monday, November 21, 2011

'Organic' certification gives farmers a tough row to hoe 

In fact, no crops here have been treated with pesticides, herbicides or chemical input of any sort. But you can't call what's produced on Newcomb's Potomac Vegetable Farms "organic." That word has been tightly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2002.

"We were certified organic for 13 years, before the federal government got involved," says Newcomb, who now calls her farm's produce "ecoganic" as a way to encourage customers to ask how it was grown — or, even better, come see for themselves. "We are still doing everything the same way, but just aren't getting certified."

Across the USA, many small-scale farmers do not feel the need to become certified organic, even if their method of farming would meet or exceed federal standards. It's a phenomenon that can be credited in part to the eat-local movement and the explosion of farmers markets, where consumers can meet, ask questions of and even visit the people who grow their food. Many locavores feel they don't need a third-party certification for something they've seen with their own eyes. READ MORE

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