Using the O word.

This post is something that I have been pondering for a while. I’m a firm believer in the use of organic matter in the garden and on farm. Here at Livingseeds Farm we spend a lot of time and money adding organic matter to our soil, mainly as a mulch on top of beds, but we do spread compost onto our grazing lands when we have spare. We are primarily a seed production operation and the main function of our animals is production of clean meat for our family and compost for the gardens.

To give you an idea as to what ‘method’ we practise we are firm believers in nitrogen capture utilizing carbon, we actively green manure with nitrogen fixing legumes in all unused beds over winter, we use high density-high impact grazing of cattle and sheep, we run a small pastured poultry operation for select customers and compost the slaughter waste of cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens once again with judicious amounts of carbon. (Joel Salatin’s methodology rules on this farm)

We don’t vaccinate our animals, no de-wormers, no licks, no dips and definitely no chemicals or poisons. Our water is solar pumped and then drip irrigated via gravity through a few kilometres of drip lines. This reduces our water requirements by over 80% and we are also doing our bit to save electricity.

Are we registered as organic NO! Will we ever be? NO!

Why not?  you may ask.

It’s pretty simple and here is my thinking.

I think that it’s simply ludicrous that the organic farming community wants to hand over the foundation and essence of what we stand for, to an institution that is corrupt to the core.

It’s the same as asking crowd of known paedophiles to look after your children… for the long weekend.

In what right mind would anyone ask our government to protect the essence and values of organic agriculture?

Come on guys, get your heads on straight, once they have their hands on organic legislation they can and will have it changed, amended, altered and twisted to suit big business. Remember big business has a lot more clout and can properly wine and dine the political powers, than a few small organic operators. They have a lot more to gain from lowering the bar when it comes to organic certification.

The US organic community is currently fighting to keep GM infected crops from getting organic status, all because the USDA now has control of the word ‘organic’. The same can and will happen here.

Already certain farmers worldwide are now talking about ‘Beyond organic’ as they try to prove with a smart phrase, that they are better than organic because that special O-word is already tainted.

I propose that instead of having organic legislation passed. What needs to happen is that chemical legislation needs to be passed.

Very simple, if ANY synthetic chemicals are used in the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging or storage of any food product is should get a simple label that says CHEMICALLY TREATED.

No threshold and no exemptions, it’s simple and it would work.

But then again it’s a dream, seeing as our government is too scared to properly label Genetically Infected food. Why on earth would they properly label chemically treated food or even protect the fundamental tenants and values of organic agriculture.

8 thoughts on “Using the O word.

  1. Denise Taylor says:

    I loved this article – one of the most honest and open ones I have seen. We need to take heed and stand together on this. Smaller farmers can only do so much and we have the chance now to protect our food source before it’s too late.
    I also think that buying heirloom seeds is very important now. Also learning how to save seeds and do a seed swap with friends who also grow “naturally”.
    Thanks for highlighting the urgency.

  2. Sean, you have me very confused here. As we too are certified organic, our certification is through an independent body. There is no direct involvement with government. And this includes any other farm certified in this way.

    As I seem to be the only one with a difference of opinion here, I would appreciate clarity on this matter .. Thanks.

  3. Bloublommetjieskloof farm is certified biodynamic, trhough Demeter ( All seeds we purchase must have organic certification. Why? Because of standards! These standards ensure that producers are genuinely organic.

    You must understand, being certified in this day is important, because there are producers who claim organic status, but are actually not following organic standards. And, if you question their methods, they truly are convinced that what they are doing is indeed organic .. Oblivious to their ignorance. And, of-course, you have those who simply abuse the term.

    Certification simply ensures that you uphold those basic standards necessary. In this way, a farmer knows for certain that the product received is without doubt organic ..

    There are certification bodies in South Africa, who are not corrupt.

    I think it is fantastic what you do! There is hope yet .. Though, you must realize how your argument affects myself, and many other biodynamic farmers in South Africa. Perhaps there is a middle ground ?

    • SelfSus says:

      Hi Ishaan, thank you for your comment and I appreciate the time you have taken to post your opinion.

      Please understand that I’m NOT knocking Organic Certification, what I am against is the handing over of organic certification to the government.
      In a pure and equal society, our government through legislation ‘should’ be able to protect the tenants of organized organic agriculture.

      However our current government has shown repeatedly that they are incapable of pure and objective legislation. That is my concern.

      IMHO government should not have a hand in organic certification, let business deal with it.

  4. Andrea van Niekerk says:

    I so totally agree about shifting the focus of legislation. I think that would be the answer to legislate any use of chemicals. Why should something natural, and God-created be legislated….?

  5. Recently saw “The Future of Food” documentary and I could not sleep several nights afterwards!!! Same principle. And we ONLY have ourselves to rely on for our own good, health and survival. Grow some of your own food NOW. Use heirloom seeds.

  6. Catriona Holden says:

    Totally agree that it would be an act of disempowerment for organic farmers to hand over the label,your customers know who you are, there is the letter of the law and there isthe spirit!

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