Organic? Cheap? Local? What’s the most important to you? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Over the years we've slowly developed some eating habits I;d really like to stop and that includes me picking up quick and convenient food items or meals to make more time in my day to get other things done. 

 

I'm trying to make some big changes in my family's eating and also our food budget. Along with that I have to deal with the time factor of making more foods at home, which is a big challenge all by itself.

 

In planning food purchases and meal plans I always get caught up in the organic or local arguments that I can never settle in my own mind and commit to one or the other or some sort of balance of both. And with budgeting that throws another element into the mix since organic is almost always more expensive. So, I'd like to know what everyone thinks regarding organic versus local and how you work the cost of into it when you're on a budget. What works for you and do you find yourself absolutely choosing some things organic over others that are local and vice versa? And how does it all work out on the budget end?


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Old 01-15-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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First of all, local can be organic without being certified.  

 

This is how I think, when trying to decide.  Please forgive any proselytizing:

 

Recently, when looking for milk options, I chose a non-organic raw milk from grass-fed cows.  The hay they supplement with their diet is from the farm.  So, no grain, no GMO feed, no antibiotics, possibly (probably) some herbicide, but maybe not.  I haven't actually visited the farm.  Same goes for the grass-fed beef we buy.  The grass-fed beef is cheaper than the organic, and tastes better because organic is usually grain-finished and blander tasting.  Grass-fed is usually not finished in a feedlot.  Grain-free is a must, if I choose something not certified organic.  

 

Even national-brand Organic Valley comes from farms quite close to us.  And our closest dairy, which sells to a non-organic co-op, is antibiotic and hormone-free, and its top-notch pastures are maintained organically.  We call it "Happy Cow Farm" because it really is the nicest dairy around.  That complicates my choices!

 

I buy Rosie organic chickens.  The local pastured chickens are phenomenally expensive.  Plus, since chickens cannot be strictly fed on what they can forage, the feed must be organic, if not certified, then in practice.  Hard to find that where I am, so organic it is.  In two years, we will be raising our own birds for meat, so that will solve that.  I can give them exactly the life (and death) I expect others to give them.

 

We have so many organic market farms and CSAs locally.  Veggies must be organic, but not necessarily certified.  You need to know and trust the farmer.  We do our best to grow our own fresh produce at home.

 

There aren't local sources for grain here, so I choose organic unless my local co-ops have information on the farm and their practices.

 

Some "organic" pesticides and fungicides are bad bad bad.  Monoculture, organic or not, is bad bad bad.  Draining all water from farms to kill off any frogs or other wild critters that can possibly carry e coli is bad bad bad.

 

So, local is good.  Local, organic is best and thankfully I don't have to make that choice very often.  Organic, but not local is good, too.  orngtongue.gif  Expense is a distant third, and I am truly thankful for that.  

 

The choices available to me have gotten so much better over the last 2 decades, I can't even begin to list how much better things are.  The fact that we can even have the conversation about choosing organic milk from 500 miles away, or non-organic from 10 miles away is one that might not have been possible just a few years ago.  


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Old 01-15-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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Talk to farmers at the local farmers market, and you may be able to get organic without certification.

We buy organic, top priority. We buy at a natural food store and buy by the case to get a 20% savings. That helps the budget. Storage can be a proble with this approach. It takes some money to get started, but we generally only need to buy a couple of cases a week, of varying items.

Some things are easy to make from scratch. Pasta sauce is just (for us) tomato paste, broth, herbs and sea salt. On good days chopped and sauted onion and garlic get added, too. A little simmering, and done.

It really depends on your personal reasons for the priorities. We react to various conventional foods, and buying organic across the board makes it easier. Convenience foods no longer have a place in our lives, because of reactions, but I sometimes wish they did.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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What works for you and do you find yourself absolutely choosing some things organic over others that are local and vice versa? And how does it all work out on the budget end?

 

 

all about priorities for us

 

a new outfit vs used and use the difference for GOOD food and that certainly does not always mean local!

 

Local is not always best, the cost often is much higher (in my area) farm markets mean pricy and not better (often sprayed!)- certain things I do only want organic - flour, grains, herbs, dairy, meats......veggies - seasonal-local vs non huge footprint import.

 

I travel over an hour to get dairy vs local that is non organic/sprayed and not the best selection. 

I travel almost an hour for meat vs local farm market that is almost twice the cost and grain fed too! Both dairy and meats we make other stops on the way so it's not just for those items.

 

I deal mostly with farmers that do not do markets and the cost is much better. Simple freeze/can/dry items vs always fresh- long run saving-$$! From scratch vs ready made and or boxed=cheaper. Bulk vs going each week=cheaper.

 

Really it is all about priorities - home made,  organic, know what is in it vs a dinner out or brand new something. Cheaper in the end when all is added together.

 

ETA- we buy what we like to eat, CSA's really don't work for us- we do a meat CSA but we can buy at the level we want and have a large choice, it's not just given to us. A farmer we really like is doing away with his CSA (same complaint I have with them) and going with "shares" this works better for all- cost is for what you want.....there are certain weeks I don't need anything from him and he doesn't grow all that I want, I would rather get what I need and pick it out vs getting things I have no use or desire for- makes it cheaper for us!


 

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I guess I need to take a closer look at what local means in my area and what might be organic but not certified. 

 

serenbat " Simple freeze/can/dry items vs always fresh- long run saving-$$! From scratch vs ready made and or boxed=cheaper. Bulk vs going each week=cheaper." 

 

Are you saying its good to opt for frozen/canned/dried items for a good bit of your purchases to save money? Do you choose organic when you do that? If so, are there brands you favor that are worth the cost and taste better than the usual canned stuff?

 

I'm looking at dehydrating too, so that I can make sure I use all of my bulk produce and nothing goes to waste. Anyone dehydrating?


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Old 01-16-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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Are you saying its good to opt for frozen/canned/dried items for a good bit of your purchases to save money? Do you choose organic when you do that? If so, are there brands you favor that are worth the cost and taste better than the usual canned stuff?

I freeze 90+% of our fruits and veggies (when in season)  - I can, (sauces, salsa mostly) I hardly do any canned (commercial foods)- occasion organic coconut milk but that'a really it

 

All the fruits and veggies we eat are organic or non-certified but grown by those I know. Fresh are in season items and stored (potato/sweet potato/squash) and lettuce and mushrooms (I have a winter source as well for these).

 

I dry apples and onions.


 

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:18 AM
 
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well local in arabia has a whole different meaning doesnt it redface.gif i would imagine you hardly have anything local. or very few items local.

 

i guess the philosophy is so much different. 

 

i mean i grew up in asia. the concept of not local and organic didnt even exist. because everything was organic and local and one could spot the non organic a mile away and no one would really buy it. tastes terrible. so back in asia we would buy smaller not very good looking veggies. quite different than the veggies here in the states that looks good but tastes terrible. 

 

let me throw in a couple more spanners in the melew.

 

how about activism? i dont eat bananas - they've ruined many an economy. we have enough fruit of our own here to go buy another fruit that we dont even grow here - anywhere in the US. same with quinoa. our demand for quinoa has made bolivians unable to afford to buy their regular grain anymore. 

 

living in california i do local and seasonal.

 

almost no processed.

 

not too much buying in bulk. old beans take longer to cook.  

 

when you are vegan and dont eat soy or gluten or corn (keep as much as GMO crops out) your choices make you really look at eating and what you are eating.

 

i'd love to go organic but we cant afford it. plus we know our farmers so we get organics anyways without paying an arm and leg for it. 


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Old 01-18-2013, 06:28 AM
 
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I recently bought quinoa to try! Rice has arsenic, quinoa is taking food away from those who used it as a staple. Corn is incomplete, compared to other grains. What grain is left to eat, when having a wheat-free night or diet?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:22 AM
 
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I recently bought quinoa to try! Rice has arsenic, quinoa is taking food away from those who used it as a staple. Corn is incomplete, compared to other grains. What grain is left to eat, when having a wheat-free night or diet?


Millet or polenta?

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:50 AM
 
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white rice (the arsenic is in brown rice - in the hull), buckwheat, barley, millet, amaranth. and the right kind of oats. 

 

sorta kinda amaranth and quinoa are not grains. they are clumped with grains but they are seeds. however i am a little confused about the difference between a seed and a grain. i mean arent grains seeds too. yeah quinoa and amaranth dont belong to the grass family and neither does buckwheat. 

 

btw pek i thought you might find this interesting. are we developing allergies because we are eating something too much? i know quite a few people who dont eat any grains or starches. they can do it a little bit ocassionally - but in general they stay away from grains and starches. 

 

also for myself - just to throw it out there - i am questioning the mixing of food. are we really supposed to eat so much variety. did we have variety in our diet before industrialisation. i mean look at traditional innuits. totally meat and fats diet, hardly any greens at all - maybe for a few months - but a tiny piece of their diet, and yet they lived a full and healthy life. i mean it was because they ate raw meat - sorta like beef tartare so they got all their nutrients. some traditional societies ate variety - but most didnt. a grain or starch, one or two veggies and maybe some meat/fish. sometimes it was just a grain or starch. i mean today there are full families who survive their whole lives on what i wouldnt call food - not too well if i may add. but they dont die from malnutrition. so i feel we really have very very limited clue about nutrition.

 

i see what the industrialization of food is doing to countries. the rich countries are getting more variety and the countries growing the food cant afford to eat what they grow. how unfair is that? how ridiculous is it that bananas here was what 30 or 50 cents a piece whereas persimmons which were growing porfusely in trees all around us were almost a dollar to a dollar fifty a piece. to me that screams exploitation. ugh. even now. naval oranges that are everywhere - are almost a dollar a piece. do we really need to have so much variety in our diet. do we really need to have papaya and bananas in our grocery stores. esp. in a place like california when we have so much local variety all throughout the year. we grow so much. should our grocery market have the same policy as say michigan which has a much shorter growing season.  

 

ouch i realised cynthia i was 'advising' you. not stating my preference.

 

here is my priority - however my priority is decided by the fact that i live in california and have access to so much fresh food that i dont have to can or dehydrate rarely. pretty soon here i will be sick of apples. however i will add i did dehydrate my persimmons coz they were going bad. ooooh dried persimmons are HEAVENLY. persimmons have such a short season that i ate almost a pound everyday for a couple of months and now just a few chips and they are done till next winter.  

- fresh

= seasonal (i havent eaten a tomato since summer. i've had a few errant tomato when i've eaten out in salad)

local (not strictly - my present addiction are they spicy peppers from mexico. they look like a giant jalapeno - not sweet but spicy. i cant get enough)

= organic (honestly for the taste - not so much for the chemical factor. i dont buy organic, but i get organic because i trade. i feel buying organic is a privilege and it irks me that some people dont have that choice) 


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Old 01-18-2013, 10:10 PM
 
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Hello Cynthia,

 

I also had these same questions.  After trying really hard to be perfect, I have relaxed a lot.  I put local first, organic second, and price third.

 

Local has one major benefit that is proven; it tends to be much fresher, which means it has much, much higher nutrient content than the same organic food shipped weeks prior from out of the country or the other side of it.

 

But I happen to live in florida and there are many wonderful outdoor markets and they not only tend to carry more local produce, they are about half the cost of the local grocery chains. I think this is where it starts; organic can be supported locally more...organically...in the long run.

 

I think it comes down to where you live as to how important local produce is, and what you cook.  See, I am not likely to get to choose locally grown apples.  And since I don't care for them anyways, they are something I just don't buy.  Avocados on the other hand, GOTTA have, and I don't care frankly how I get them.

 

But I try to avoid grocers who can't tell me where their produce is from or even label it.  That is a HUGE part of the problem and the first step in educating consumers.

 

 

As for price, I have decided to focus my organic budget solely on things I can't get locally that my son eats primarily.  For example, when I make eggs, his are organic, dad's are not.  I keep a separate set for our son.  It's a compromise to save a few dollars per month.

 

Anyway, I am new to this forum, nice to meet you.

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Old 01-19-2013, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
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We have a lot of farm-based villages and cities here so, surprisingly, we get a lot of fresh, local produce. I almost always opt for local over imported. That's a pretty easy choice because imported is almost always more expensive, though sometimes it is superior in taste so I have to juggle the taste/cost/imported factors to decide. For some things I can't get local - like avocados  - I choose closer over further, Kenyan or Sri Lankan over California. 

 

Organic - we have a few local companies that offer a limited variety of organic produce and food products. I tend to buy from them whatever I can but sometimes the price is triple - which puts a dent in my budget. 

 

It's a constant tug of war, I tell ya.


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Old 01-19-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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I almost always opt for local over imported. That's a pretty easy choice because imported is almost always more expensive, though sometimes it is superior in taste so I have to juggle the taste/cost/imported factors to decide. 

ugh! that makes sense right?!!!! not here in CA. vegetables coming from mexico and south america are cheaper than locally grown. things are just way too messed up here. 

 

It's a constant tug of war, I tell ya.

that is so so so true!!!


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Old 01-19-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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I don't have the farms close by, but have a wonderful natural food store that carries only organic produce from the closest farms possible. It's pricey, true. I avoid produce for allergy/intolerance reasons. Boy, do I miss it. I have to make do with frozen or canned. The advantage is it's cheaper than the fresh, and by buying cases I get a discount. We all make our choices based on what's necessary and what options are most feasible for that location.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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Organic, inexpensive AND local. We grow our own meats, and have done a garden some years. When we can't garden, we can always find someone with extra produce. We can also get certified organic grains from a neighbor for less than buying white flour in the store. We strive to meet all 3 of these things whenever we can.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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This summer we were the grateful recipients of extra veggies from a friend's garden.  We had just built a house, and money was tight-- we dropped gymnastics for the summer, basically stayed at home.  Their help dropped our food bill down at least $100 in a month.  We made a point to take what was offered, and to eat that instead of dreaming of something else.


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Old 01-23-2013, 11:29 AM
 
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As a general rule, if I can talk to the farmer they get my business (as long as their practices meet my standards). I do a lot of shopping on craigslist for 1/4 or sides of meat. You get some great deals from small farmers with good practices. We keep a chest freezer because we can get much better price. We raise our own laying hens and broilers. Looking to get some sheep this spring for meat and fiber (as well as preservation since they are an endangered American breed).

 

Next comes produce that's organic. I refuse to buy meat (for the most part - Applegate beef hotdogs and bacon being the two exceptions) that's organic. The reason I refuse to buy meats that are certified organic (I also don't buy conventional) is because I don't know what they are fed (and as amazing and unbelievable to most as it is, there is no organic standard that requires organic grains - or food for that matter - to be tested from GMO's -- this is why the Non-GMO project is so important and valuable ... organic and GMO-free are not mutually exclusive) and they don't say if they are grass finished most the time. So I will purchase certified organic veggies, but almost never meats. It also has to do with how the animals are treated/raised. Chickens that are organic can be raised the same way as conventional from my understanding while fed organic feed. Eggs are also something I will not purchase, for the same reason's as listed for meat.

 

Price - this is a tough one. I source a lot of stuff in bulk and try to share with neighbors. I also buy avocado's conventional a lot more often then I would like (I usually opt to support organic just so I can "vote with my dollars") but they are expensive anyway and then add the organic label! Whew! Greens I will not buy conventional no matter what. They are always cheaper but I also have NO idea what the current practices are as far as radiation/pasteurization. I like my food alive so ... I go with organic over price with most produce. Meats, I buy in bulk and pay way less. Just found a local farmer that I got a side of beef from for $2.65 a pound hanging weight. She uses organic practices. Even with maintaining the freezers I am not getting any where near the roast price (on farm) for my local organic farm. I had to drive about 40 minutes...but the quality, price and taste made it very, very worth it.

 

As a general rule, I tend to stick with organic more to "vote with my dollars" then anything. But there is just some stuff that I can't afford organic. I also buy almonds, coconut, honey, coconut oil, and any grains we do eat (currently grain free) in bulk. I buy my ghee in bulk so I get the best of the best for a much more reasonable price. I just bought a case of lemons, limes and avocados from a distributor directly and am preserving them. I freeze and can everything I can during the summer months and grow sprouts and greens in my windows during the winter months. I do find that I have very little interest in greens this winter, when I lived in Maryland they were a staple but we were getting them from a local farm cooperative in Pennsylvania and they were very fresh (also organic). Another great thing is to buy with neighbors or friends from a farm cooperative.

 

Sources I use (I'm on the east coast remember) include:

EVOO - Bariani (California)

Nuts, Seeds, dried fruit, Coconut, coconut oil - Wilderness Family Naturals or Essential Living Foods or Jaffe Bros (all of these have wholesale account options)

Honey - Local farm in 5 gallon pail (or friend with bee's and hopefully eventually my own bees)

Maple Syrup - Baer Brothers (in Pennsylvania when I was in Maryland - also got my grass fed beef from him, best price) ... now I am going to tap my own trees!

Produce - Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (in Maryland) with a $150 minimum order (year round)

Palm Shortening - Tropical Traditions

Milk/Meats - we were a member of a food buying club that sourced local raw meats and milk (eventually soy free) which you paid a little more for but they lasted longer and the quality was second to none

Misc Items - Artisana butters, some seeds, other misc items was Natural Zing (had a buying club option)

Animal Feed - Our Animal feed is GMO tested and free which is something I have not found in a single other company as of yet, Organic does not mean GMO free -- Hiland Naturals

Other Misc including body products, some herbs and personal care - Frontier Cooperative

Fish - Local sources or Vital Choice preferably but I do buy non-BPA tuna and sardines at the natural foods stores

 

Hope this helps someone! It's a lot of work until you get it all worked out. Once you get it all worked out and find the best prices and preferably a few people to order with (but I don't let that discourage me, most of it stores beautifully), it's really not that bad.

 

namaste


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Old 01-23-2013, 09:32 PM
 
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Animal Feed - Our Animal feed is GMO tested and free which is something I have not found in a single other company as of yet, Organic does not mean GMO free -- Hiland Naturals

 

To be *certified organic* in the US and Canada, the food cannot be GM, and animals cannot be fed with GM feed.


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Old 01-23-2013, 10:08 PM
 
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yup with sweetsilver. those words usually come with this stamp 

 

here's the lowdown

 

If a food product is labeled 100% organic and is labeled with and USDA Organic seal, it must be completely free of genetically modified products by government regulations. On the other hand, foods that are labeled "Made with Organic Ingredients" or simply "Organic" are not as tightly regulated and can contain GMOs. To be sure your food is GMO-free, buy USDA certified 100% organic food.

 

which is about 95% organic. in reality 100% organic can never exist. our soil and water are too contaminated.


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Old 01-24-2013, 09:52 AM
 
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 To be sure your food is GMO-free, buy USDA certified 100% organic food.

 

which is about 95% organic. in reality 100% organic can never exist. our soil and water are too contaminated.

....which is why I highlighted *certified organic*.  Even on a relatively pristine property as ours (in terms of chemicals applied), you have rain, dust, air pollution, drift from sprayed herbicides.......

 

Food products can have some minor ingredients, like xanthum gum, in them and still be a certified organic product.  Xanthum gum is from corn, and I've never, ever seen organic xanthum gum, though it might be a matter of time.  10 years ago, organic corn starch and corn syrup was almost unheard of.

 

It is, admittedly, a matter of doing the best you can do.  Certified organic is not necessarily the ideal, either.


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Old 01-24-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree with talking with the farmer and other farm workers as a way to get organic and non-GMO.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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Hey ladies, this is a common misconception that organic must be GMO free. It is in the standards that they can not contain any GMO ingredients BUT (and here's the loop hole), the standards do not require testing. This took me a while to get my head around but I am not making this up. The Non-GMO Project (which is the only verification body in the United States) has this to say in their verification FAQ:

 

"Why should I enroll if my products are already USDA certified organic?

While the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies genetic modification as an excluded method, GMOs are not a prohibited substance. This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required. These rules were established at a time when GMOs were in limited production, and accidental contamination was not a significant risk. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. With the majority of key crops like soy and corn being planted with GM varieties in North America, contamination of seeds, ingredients, and products is a real risk, even for certified organic products. The good news is that the NOP has excellent guidelines for traceability and segregation, and the Non-GMO Project is designed to honor the work that certified organic companies are already doing, with the added measure of testing risk ingredients at critical control points. Many founding members of the Non-GMO Project are the leaders of organic companies. These pioneers understand that protecting the long-term integrity of organic products, starting at the seed level, requires that they be protected from GMO contamination, which can only be done with testing."

 

I added the underline. I have been researching this quite some time now. This is a common misconception. I have talked to a number of different organic farmers (2 dairy's) as well as a few seed companies (High Mowing and Baker Creek being two) and they are all aware that GMO's are not tested for in the organic industry. Jack at Butterworks farm was very animated (and frustrated) about the whole thing. His wife shared his opinion and frustration. If you don't believe me, call some companies. If you have livestock, call the feed company you get your organic grains from. If you buy organic corn during the summer talk to the farmer. Ask them if they test their corn (or get tested seed). If you have pets, call your food company and ask them. I think you will be surprised, shocked and dismayed at the answer. I was. Part of the problem is it is a common misconception in our country that organic means GMO free and these two are not mutually exclusive.

 

Here are a few more resources:

http://farmwars.info/?p=5426

http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/ (tip number one states that certified organic can not "intentionally" contain GMO ingredients - refer to the previous article stating that organic is process driven)

 

If you are going to rely on the organic label (and I wanted to go into a whole soap box here...) make sure it says 100% organic and read this article as it's pretty well done. http://mamanatural.com/how-to-avoid-gmos/

 

Please note, there is no benefit in me making this stuff up. I am not interested in disinformation. What I am interested in true knowledge and not being lied to. I'm a mom who went to school to be a Biologist. I worked in the vet field and have seen compromised food kill animals. I have read a lot about the conventional farming industry. I have even come across information/documentation from midwives in other countries (don't have this article handy) who are seeing women consuming GMO soy having higher complication rates and damaged placenta's. I now have a small farm and source the best that I can find (for my pets as well and this is no small task). I talk to the feed companies. I research like crazy and I run into disinformation, incomplete information and out right lies doing this. I advocate doing your research and asking questions, not relying on someone else to do it for you because as much as it stinks, absolute power (money) corrupts absolutely. And there is a lot of money flying around in these industries. Just think about how much of a battle it was for rBGH to get labeled. There are scientists being bought off as there is very little private money anymore. They are academics and if they want to keep getting their funding they are asked to alter their research in the favor of the funding body (usually corporate) or in favor of not being published so it doesn't make it into the public eye.

 

namaste


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Old 01-25-2013, 09:30 AM
 
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I don't think you are making it up.  It is an important point to be made.  When they start requiring testing, that will honor the intent of the no-GMO rule for being certified organic.  There is a lot of pressure on the USDA to stay liberal regarding GMOs, and I remember that it was a hot-button issue when the rules for certified organic were being formulated in the first place, along with pasture for dairy cows, and other issues that were getting a lot of industry pressure.


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Old 01-25-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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I thought that being non-GMO was part of being certified organic. And certified organic requires testing. I'm sure about the testing. So .... clarification, please.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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aaaaaaah GreenVariety - what you say makes sense. 

 

so if something was certified organic 10 years ago are they being tested every year. 

 

unfortunately no - its not just corn and soy. its tomatoes, grapes and some others. 

 

so the chance of cross pollination or even ingredients is definitely a possibility. 

 

the home of corn - mexico hardly has any non GMO corn varieties left. or should i say maize. in fact i dont know if there is any now. i knew 10 years ago GMOs made it to the high mountains - the last vestige of nonGMO corn. 


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Old 01-25-2013, 10:18 AM
 
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Certified organic gets tested annually. Talk to the farmers. That's why sometimes they don't use gmo seed or chemicals, but can't claim to be organic, officially.

Are you saying all soy and corn is now gmo?

I have to run, but I'll check back tonight for a response.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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Certified organic does not get tested for GMO's annually. They have requirements and visits from the USDA Organic body that they have to meet standards for but as I said previously it's "process driven." There is no testing required for GMO's. I wish it weren't so, but sadly it is. This is why GMO's are showing up in organics. This is why GMO soy was being sold into the feed industry as "organic" and the thing that got them caught was the price tag (they were selling much lower then everyone else). I can't find the article now though... grrr...

 

I did find this one. Note that they say the farmer is testing his grains (at his own risk because they sit when they are determined to be contaminated).

http://www.progressive.org/0901/lil0901.html
 

As far as "talk to the farmers" I have. I am a farmer myself (although very small). I have talked to the owner of Butterworks Farm (a huge Jersey Dairy in New England that ships products to health food stores all over the east coast - says he was the first certified organic dairy in the US). I have talked to seed companies. I have talked to feed companies. I have talked to other dairies. I have talked to pet food companies. I dealt with a small grain elevator in PA directly and had to inform the owner that his product labeled "soy-free" and GMO free was in fact soy containing and GMO containing. He wasn't aware that lecithin was from soy... or molasses is often produced from GMO-sugar beets (and subsequently nutritional yeast is often grown on sugar beet molasses -- and sold in health food stores).

 

A lot of farmers are choosing (consciously) not to become certified organic. A prime example is Joel Salatin (huge food/farm speaker/writer/activist). He was asked to sit on the organic board (if memory serves) when it was first established but foresaw the flaws (like a Driscoll marketing agent sitting in one of the farm seats and carrageenan becoming an approved organic ingredient -- been a while since I read about that one, nearly a year). They are making this choice partly because of the cost which is prohibitive to many. I have a friend that has an organic blueberry field. She uses all organic practices but can't get organic pricing and can't afford to become certified organic. She is not the exception. I personally will never become certified organic. For me it's just another hoop with very few benefits that I would have to jump through. I could get higher prices at market theoretically but I can also get those by growing pastured meats and offering a product that is verified GMO free (with the first feed company becoming Non-GMO Project Verified, this is a real, viable possibility). I also think a lot of the organic standards are below my personal standards. For instance, with organic you are allowed to spread ANY chicken manure (even conventional) as a fertilizer. And it's not uncommon for organic farms to spread conventional chicken manure as a fertilizer. Gross...yes, I think so. The standards aren't perfect and there are many loop holes that you don't learn about until you start researching it/living it.

Also there are a lot of farmers in "transition" which takes 3 years. But this is strictly procedural. They have to have organic practices on their farm for 3 years (meeting the organic certification standards) before becoming certified organic. As long as they purchase their seed from a company that is "certified organic" their seed is never tested. Because it is "to their knowledge" certified organic.

 

Sorry! I hope this doesn't ruin anyone's day!!

 

namaste

 

really good article (and I usually shy away from mainstream media as it's full of disinformation and press releases by huge corporations) - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/business/organic-food-purists-worry-about-big-companies-influence.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

another article - http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/jun07/organic_soybeans.php


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Old 01-25-2013, 12:29 PM
 
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Oh, and no I was not saying all corn and soy are GMO. That being said, my feed company searched for a year and was unable to find Non-GMO Sugar Beets... I have shied away from those and any molasses that isn't exclusively from sugar cane since finding that out.

 

It is possible to find non-GMO of these items but I wouldn't go buy bulk grains of either corn or soy without having a good long chat with the producer/distributor either. Baker Creek has been testing their seeds (for planting) for 8 years and only has 11 varieties of corn that is testing clean in this years catalog (they have found). My feed company also has a source of feed corn as they are Non-GMO Project Verified for all their regular Chicken and Turkey rations. So they do exist. But certified organic does not guarantee they are clean unfortunately.


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Old 01-25-2013, 08:00 PM
 
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yes i would go as far as to say all corn (havent checked on soy lately but reason might be teh same) is GMO. HOWEVER what does that mean. not that it may not be grown from GMO corn, but it could be contaminated. here it is from the horses mouth. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5090396

 

 

As long as an organic operation has not used excluded methods and takes
reasonable steps to avoid contact with the products of excluded methods as
detailed in their approved organic system plan, the unintentional presence of
the products of excluded methods should not affect the status of the organic
operation or its organic products.
 
pek on another thread u aroused my curiosity. i could not find any beans easily which had not been processed in a non soy facility. 
 
however let me say one thing. i fully support research in GMO. it is something that is present in nature. bug eats crop - curls up and dies. but we are no where near to even understand how that happens. maybe in one or two hundred years we will finally figure out GMO the right way. not today. not now. we just dont know enough about how our body works. 

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Old 01-26-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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Not all corn is GMO. I get feed corn that is not contaminated. Baker Creek seeds (rareseeds.com) has several varieties that are testing clean and with corn it's a protein that is in the dust so if there is GMO dust present (even through transport) the testing should show a positive. The guys I get my feed from had a truck test positive at the bottom and clean at the top. The truck hadn't been cleaned properly.

 

As far as what's taking place in nature, it's not genetic modification. It's survival of the fittest and generally takes place through a mutant (favorable) gene. It is selected for over many many years because those plants/animals survive and thrive while others don't (and reproduce passing that gene onto the next generation). You see it in humans, plants, animals...it's part of nature, but almost always starts as a mutation. It has nothing to do with scientists combining their theories and different species (or genus for that matter) in a lab environment. This is something that would never take place in nature (and why sterile generation 1's are produced when crosses happen - if they are capable of reproducing together at all, like seedless fruit or mules). Corn wouldn't splice itself with Bt to form a toxin. Hybridization is much, much similar to what takes place in nature but through human intervention and intensive selection (how we have so many different breeds of dogs and cats..or tomatoes for that matter). That is why this last spring there were cow's dropping from cyanide poisoning in Texas (and other drought ridden states), because of a hybrid Tifton grass that when stressed produces cyanide. It's a hybrid, not a genetic modification (but is also not what would generally take place in nature as the grasses were from two different continents).

 

These two terms are thrown around a lot and I think part of it is to confuse people but they are very different. Hybrids are the result of a natural genetic modification (through intensive selection), yes, but they are not a genetic modification in the sense that we are speaking of here (where labs, and completely unnatural crosses which are impossible in nature are taking place). If you read the research that was carried out by the one researcher who has done this (independently) in Europe, Arpad Pusztai, as well as his account you see that he came to the conclusion that it is not the GM seed (in his case a potato that was crossed with a human safe lectin) but in fact the lab process that makes the end result dangerous.

 

Perhaps in 200 years we will understand the process. I think there are many, many better ways to feed starving nations. Many of these nations would rather starve then receive our genetically modified products. Genetic modification holds the key to a lot, a ridiculous amount really, of money and guaranteed profits as the companies that hold the seed patent also hold the chemical that must be used...


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