This is exciting to me, for too long in my view consumers have been denied a basic level of information about where their food comes from, how it was grown and how it is treated.
Additionally small scale producers have not been able to truly tell consumers why their food is better than pesticide laden, genetically modified and herbicide laced food in grocery stores. The establishment of course has given us the “Organic” label as a solution to this problem.
The problems there are many…
- “Organic” is OWNED by the USDA, they decide who can and can’t use it. Yes they own the word organic, which is ironic since the word predates the US Government and basically means, “carbon based or derived from a living organism.”
- The cost of “organic” certification is cost prohibitive for many small growers and many large producers as well. The cost is one thing but the administrative costs and miles of paperwork to stay current are the real problem. Farmers should be growing food, not pushing pencils. A large farm may spend over 33,000 dollars just to be certified.
- “Organic” certification does nothing to tell the consumer who produced their food, where it was grown, steps beyond the organic process that the producer takes, etc.
- The “Organic” label was designed as a marketing tool, not in the best interest of the producer or the consumer.
- Organic has become an “all or nothing approach”, there is currently no middle ground. Many consumers would be happy to buy from a producer that may use some fertilizer but pledges not to use GMOs, Herbicides and Pesticides and farms sustainably with a soil improvement program, but until now no such middle ground has existed.
- Organic certification is excluded to people who do not produce for for resale like hobby gardeners, home gardeners, etc. They can say their food is organic as they are exempt but there are not really part of the program. They have no voice in the standard.
- What is and is not “organic” is complicated to explain and understand. The regulations and standards are thousands of pages long.
- Most importantly the “organic” label is NOT a free market program it is run by government, policed by government and serves the needs of regulators more than consumers.
In short when you buy “organic” produce today you know that certain things were not done to it but you don’t really know what was done to it, you don’t know who grew it and you on many levels are taking the government’s word that it meets a standard. I will frankly take the word of a local farmer or my neighbor over the word of a Department of the Federal Government any day!
Additionally there are now calls for GMO seed to eventually be considered as acceptable for organic use. Considering that one of the biggest reasons people choose organic food today is to avoid GMOs, I personally find this unacceptable.
So I have started working on a new program to fill this void called AgriTrue. The program is currently in an infancy stage but we do have a few things off the ground.
- The New AgriTrue Website
- AgriTrue on Facebook
- AgriTrue on Twitter (no tweets yet, but they will come)
- The VERY early draft (pre beta) of the AgriTrue Standard
There is a lot of work to do yet. If you want to help build out and expose the world to this new standard, consider sending me an email to jack at agritrue.com and put AgriTrue in the subject. I plan to launch an invitation only forum this week, when I do I will let anyone who has emailed me know about it.
From this point forward I will post almost all AgriTrue information at AgriTrue.com, so make sure to subscribe to the email updates or the RSS Feed there if you want to stay connected to this new movement. Given the concept is now a whopping 5 days old I think we have come a long way, fast.