What happened to the time when we could eat food from the ground without questioning its authenticity? I was recently at a trade show and came across this booth were two ladies were representing their organic farm to passers-by. Personally I love farms and I love farmers. They are some of the hardest working people who work day in and day out to produce some of the finest foods, working sunup to sundown. As I looked through the portfolio of photos that sat on the table I noticed the many vibrant colours of their fresh vegetables and happily grazing animals, but I realized that there was one problem. This farmer could not present a license to prove their organic farming practices, because they did not have one. The lady explained that although they did follow the practices of organic farming, the cost involved in providing proof to the public was too substantial to contend with and therefore they would be forced to have to sell as "non-organic" in this legal world of terms and labels.
This really got me thinking about the total backwards way we have started to go about our food business. Why on earth would a farmer who produces his product, in an "organic" way have to have a license to prove that it is in fact “organic?” Shouldn’t you need a permit instead to tell the public if you weren’t giving them the finest quality foods, and furthermore shouldn’t you be required to pay a penalty if the food you were providing was not up to par with what nature intended. This is just my backwards way of thinking, and yes I do realise why we have to prove authenticity when it comes to food or at least the reasons we are lead to believe. Pesticide seepage, chemical sprays, unethical practices and I’m sure the list goes on. To me these seem like fear-mongering tactics designed to make us afraid of eating uncertified foods, because in reality how much money can a carrot and all the carrots after it generate if they don’t have their licenses, certification and documentation papers?
I guess the thing I’m trying to say is that maybe we need to stop looking at everything as all or nothing. If a farmer tells you that they follow organic practices even if they can’t prove it, maybe just trust what they are telling you, because even if it’s not the full truth it’s still a far step ahead of packaged, processed foods that are able to sit on shelves for months or years. I don’t think we’ve become completely unable to identify real food and we certainly have the capacity as humans to see through someone who is really trying to pull the wool over us. The least of our worries is the humble farmer who is not trying to win a campaign or change the course of nature, but is rather just trying to grow some good food to make a living for themselves and their family.
Why do we stand up so harshly against the farmer who tells you with all certainty that the food they are growing is organic-without proof? We would better invest our time and energy in fighting against GMOs and the unethical practices of major corporations who are legitimately destroying our food supply.
Nothing is absolute; nothing is perfect, so why are we so conditioned to seek perfection in everything. If we change our mentality towards focusing on the major issues that really do affect us, maybe we won’t be in the constant state of driving ourselves crazy. We don’t have to be the best, we just need to do better.
This is not a piece against organic farming or organic foods, so please don’t misinterpret my writing. I am here to support the good people, like I, who do not believe that you should have to prove the authenticity of the humble farmer’s carrot. So please, next time a farmer tells you that their food is the product of “organic” practice but are unable to produce documentation, don’t scowl or scoff at them. Take it for what it is, because there are actually good people in the world who do things the right way and maybe just don’t feel they need to have a renewable license to prove it.
We are all in this together.
Tanya is a whole foods chef and business owner of a whole foods catering service - Artisan Food Co. She is currently completing holistic nutrition and is an advocate for whole body living.