Archive for Organic Farming

Organic Farming

Once upon a time all farms are what we now consider “organic” that is to say that they used no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  Such things were pretty much unknown before World War II and did not exist very long before then.

From the 50s into the 60s more and more synthetic inputs were used and farms began to grow larger, and we now know, more toxic.  Some farmers got uncomfortable with the “newfangled” methods and either never adopted them or went back to a way of farming that was more like their forebears.

So, even though it didn’t have a name at first, “organic farming” was reborn.  “Organic” was added to “farming” in much the same way “acoustic” is added to “guitar” to identify it as a certain way of doing things.  However it needed much more than a name.

In the grocery store an “organic” tomato” is going to look pretty much like a factory farmed one.  But organic farming is a bit more expensive, and the growers wanted to let consumers the value of the more expensive produce.  So, the word “organic” was applied.  Unfortunately as soon as the word had some value, everyone wanted to use it whether they farmed that way or not.  So a way was needed to separate the “real” organic farmers from others.

In many cases, farmers themselves set up standards organizations to certify farms and their products as “organic.”

One such organization was formed here in Wisconsin, the Midwest Organic Services Association.   One of our local farmers, Blaine Tornow, of Moonshadow Farms was on the original board of the organization and helped set the standards they used.  If you want to see what the standards are, and what kind of paperwork farming in an old fashioned way can generate, check out their audit trail and paperwork page.  It should give you a a little more appreciation for what your local organic farmer has to do other than risk his or her financial future each spring.

If you are not big on paperwork, check out their page of organic links to learn more about organic farming.


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