We are not Organic Certified for a few different reasons.
The main one is I strongly believe it to be a bit of a scam that does little to benefit the growers or consumers, just lining the pockets of the middle man.
For us to get certified would cost us ~1/3rd of our total yearly income when I gave it very serious consideration back in the day. 1/3 of our total annual income(income, not even just the measly profits), for a bloody sticker…
As a fruit picker and contract sprayer for many years, I know for a fact many certified organic farms use chemical treatments when they know they can get away with it, or when prices are up. Ethrel to speed ripening, sulphur chemical dips to prevent fungal issues during the wet season, tordon for hard to control weeds like black wattle etc.
I know this unlike most of the majority of workers on those farms, as I was one of the cash in hand weekend workers they employed(something I now regret).
I am NOT saying all organic certified farms are dodgy, but I am saying like all things that increase profits, a % will always break the rules.
Since I personally can’t trust the label, and it costs big $, and I don’t get any other benefit from having it, yeah, it’s a hard pass from me…
Definitely not a fan of some random dude rocking up unannounced any old time they want to either. I don’t even let family visit more than once a year, and that’s by appointment months in advance only…
I can tell you that me and the Mrs don’t use any synthetic chemical herbicides or insecticides, and we don’t use machinery like tractors, harvesters, rotary hoes, or even seed sorting machines, as we reckon these things are best done properly by hand. Takes a little longer but gives a better result for a lower carbon footprint.
It’s an all-encompassing a way of life for us, not a cash cow or short term revenue stream.
The only insecticides we use are made by us from the plants we grow and we don’t even bother doing that very often as with the diversity of species we have here now we have attracted a wide range of native predators. I have a few recipes at this Plant-based Insecticides link. With everything in balance as an ecosystem of sorts, minor insect attack just isn’t really an issue any more. As soon as something gets to be unbalanced and in high numbers, something else soon comes along to control the numbers for me.
Nature hates waste.
We don’t use herbicides as it’s just silly.
“Weeds” are a valuable asset to us. They can be eaten by us, the chooks, or guinea pigs, dug in as compost/green manure, or used as trellises and to shade surrounding seedlings.
I talk about their myriad of uses here at the Weeds Link.
Spraying them is just throwing money away and even more important it when you add it all up it just doesn’t work as well as basic manual labour.
The surfactants and wetting agents used in the poison to increase its absorption into plant cells, also make the soil dry out quicker. Pretend for a second the poison has been shown to be safe(which they haven’t), and the surfactants have been shown to be safe too(which they definitely haven’t) that is just how they work.
They are basically just fancy soap or dishwashing liquid so over time they have the same effect as too much greywater does.
Even if you pretend they have no negative impacts on the soil, fungi, and the myriad of tiny beneficial insects and critters that live there, the fact is they make soil hydrophobic by their mode of action.
This means water runs through in cracks, instead of soaking into the soil mass and being retained.
They dry it all out by breaking the surface tension which is exactly what they were designed to do in a plants cells. This creates erosion and bare soil, and as well as that there is always spray drift, and even if you do a fantastic job of “cut and paint” unless you are immediately replanting that patch of bare earth all that happens is the hardiest and most vigorous seeds sitting dormant in the soil immediately take up that space.
They normally do this greater numbers than before now that all their competition has been temporarily removed, and they have much greater access to nutrients and sunlight.
Just step back, take the emotion away and think logically for a second, is that likely to be your vegetables and the local natives?
I can tell you now it never is. It’s always the super hardy, and most prolific seed setting species, which is the bloody weed species you just spent a fortune and wasted a heap of time and effort trying to control…
Herbicide effects do look really dramatic short term, but real-world it does bugger all except cause reliance on even more herbicide going forward, at the same time it creates resistant in those weeds by hardcore selecting them for herbicide resistance and vigour every single generation.
It’s a great business model for the chemical companies and countries that make billions producing them, but very far from sensible from a consumer point of view. Especially for folks in arid climates with low rainfall and poor hungry soils like us Aussies!
Baffles me that the argument against them is always about cancer rates from exposure to these dodgy far from “safe” synthetic chemicals. Basic economics alone, cost vs benefit over time, shows me very clearly that synthetic chemical use is stooopid…
So yeah, long story short we are not organic certified, and we have no interest in being certified in the future, but regardless I reckon what me and the Mrs do is even better anyway.
Even without a fancy bloody sticker…