I do not understand the constant attack on organic farmers by their conventional bretheren. Different consumers want different things and there is zero wrong with that. You don't see Toyota attacking Ford- what they do is provide a product consumers want more.
As well, this guys speel is very misleading. Our farm operation has an organic and conventional stream over about 650 acres of crops. There has simply not been a watering down of CANADIAN standards. He is also pure and simple a liar with his stupid comments about communists. I vote Conservative, I am a Christian and have been farming organicly and conventionally for 35 years in total. Some of the strongest advocates of organic farming come to it through their belief in God and respecting His creation. Popoff is also completely misrepresenting how organic standards are enforced and administered in Canada. This guy is a joke and why anyone would take him seriously is a mystery.
Buying from Canadian farmers -conventional or organic - is the answer. The problem is off-shore food entering our country, both organic and convential. That is the problem. The exact same problem exists in conventional food on our grocery store shelves. It is not an organic vs conventional issue. It is a lack of leadership by government on ALL food entering Canada.
There is nothing new here. Quit attacking other farmers they are not the enemy.
So it appears that I'm not the only one seeing this as an attack on organic farmers! "Thay Guy" makes a number of excellent points. Mr. Popoff's perspective is not an "inside" view of the organic sector, and organic food is far more than what Mr. Popoff or Mr. Haney (RealAgriculture.com) seems to think it is.
As someone who is involved in the organic sector at a number of levels, including the formation of the Canadian Organic Standard, I can definitively state that Mr. Popoff is completely inaccurate in his perspective on the certification system, the intelligence of organic consumers, the integrity of organic farmers, and the history and present state of the organic movement.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this whole thing is that in this day and age RealAgriculture.com and OntAg/Farms.com are so shockingly misinformed and uneducated about the organic sector that they would lend Mr. Popoff any credibility whatsoever. It points to a desperate lack of communication and respect between the organic and non-organic sectors of the agricultural industry. Hopefully this discussion will help to start bridging that gap.
No there is no conspirsy, because they now do it openly, right in front of you now. The frog in the pot, your the frog in the cold water, as it gets warm you don't know you are being boiled alive. One set of food for the rich and the processed for the poor. Longer life for the rich and shorter for the slaves. Mr Popoff is right about one thing farmers being dictated by the city socialist with capitalist tastes. Who are only tools of the mega rich. Mr Popoff is selling a book and has his own agenda, classific scare must read. As my opion on regulation and rules, you should be able to farm according to the market wants and your own skills and merrits, not government, orginations, associations or multi nationals. Heres my product take or leave it. The market will soon tell you.
Every since I first listened to this interview I have been getting SPAM messages from Popoff encouraging me to buy his book. By listening to this interview did I give him permission to send me emails? Who is the dishonest person here?
Regardless, I have many comments to make.
Popoff claims to be within the organic sector; when did he last inspect a farm? When has he last communicated with people within the Canadian Organic sector, farmers included? And what is the relevance of making correlations with communism? He sounds like a fear-mongerer from the 1950s. It's irrelevant. I am an organic farmer and an employee at Canadian Organic Growers, and I am a small "c" conservative too. I farm organic, and work with organic and transitional farmers, because I believe it is the better way: for farmers, for consumers, for the environment, for communities, for the ag industry,etc. By the way, being a social activist does not make someone a communist - it is flawed logic and only exposes Popoff's ignorance and/or own agenda.
Popoff seems to think that he is part of some kind of elite because his farm was one of the first to certify as organic, and then anyone who certified after him is illegitimate. Actually, organic agricultural practices have developed, evolved and improved a lot since the 1980s. Organic farms now are probably much more sustainable and ecologically sound then they were 30 years ago.
Regarding Popoff's statements about genetic engineering, there is also evidence that widespread use of GMO crops for pesticide and herbicide resistance has INCREASED chemical application, apart from all of the other problems such as crop contamination, superweeds, and the appearance of weeds and pests resistant to Round-up and Bt. There is also as much scientific evidence supporting that organic is more ecological and healthier and safer as there is evidence denouncing it (so the jury is out). See this link for some examples: http://www.organic-center.org/science.tocreports.html.
The GE industry has its own celebrities cheerleaders. Bill Gates comes to mind. Everything is sold through celebrity endorsement these days it seems. And Monsanto is certainly not afraid to file lawsuits against organic farmers whose canola crop happens to be exposed to pollen from a distant GE canola field.
GMOs are the only thing in organic inspections that can be realistically tested for because it is a simple and inexpensive test. Does he have any idea of how many different pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, fungicides, and dangerous cleaning chemicals are used in ag today? Hundreds at least. Practically each one would require a separate test in order to identify if was or was not present if there is even a test at all. Even at just $50 per test (though it is probably a lot more), it is an outrageous.
Most of the time, farmers know when their organic inspector is coming, but each year a certain percentage of farmers receive an unannounced inspection. An organic inspection reviews and analyzes records. The certifying body looks for inconsistencies in records that might suggest the use of prohibited substances. It is not perfect, but it works pretty well. And by the way, farmers are not certified organic for just keeping records. The records have to prove that they are following a strict regulation. In other words, farmers have to follow the organic standards and then be able to prove that they follow them with records.
Corporate interests have very little control over the organic standards, in Canada at least. The standards were developed with multi-stakeholder input, yet the influence is weighted heavily in favour of farmers rather than retailers, packers or processors. That was planned in order to curtail corporate lobbying. Furthermore, the standards are a living document, which means the constant new input of stakeholders is making the standards better on a continual basis.
Finally, Popoff draws the card that 80% of organic food sold in Canada is imported. Actually, this is true for ALL FOOD SOLD IN CANADA. So his argument has no credence. Furthermore, he does not mention the amount of Canadian grown organic food and fibre that is EXPORTED from Canada. Regardless, the high amount of imports does not mean that the organic industry does not support organic farmers. Loblaws has a policy to purchase from Canadian farmers first, if they can find it. The problem is that there is not enough organic production in Canada to meet the demand. The "industry" would probably buy it if they could get it. Therefore, it should be up to the provincial, territorial and federal governments to either support the organic ag industry the way they support the conventional ag industry, or to stop supporting the conventional industry the way they do not support the organic industry.
This is not a communist rant against any statements that do not laud organic. It is an attempt to reveal the faults in Popoff's arguments, including how he cloaks those faulty arguments, and to increase the understanding of how the organic industry works.
The University of Windsor is partnering with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) and Kruger Energy to investigate using existing wind farms to power and heat greenhouses in Southwestern Ontario.
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