Episode-701- Listener Feedback 7-13-11 — 85 Comments

  1. Hell no!!! I will not give this messed up government one red cent. They obviously can not be trusted with money. I really dont understand why we are letting them get away with not cutting spending at a drastic rate… it’s what we have to do when we get into financial trouble. Time to take back our country!!

  2. To the best of my knowledge, the only state you are allowed to OWN land is in Texas and this must be done by obtaining a allodial title. The land you ‘think’ you own if ‘own’ your home is NOT YOURS. It belongs to the state. You are renting it from them through your taxes. It’s like paying lot rent in a mobile home park. The city/state can and will tell you what you can and cannot do, as a family discovered when the city removed the basketball hoops from their driveways. IT IS NOT YOUR LAND. It belongs to King George III. For more info: and here it is explained from one of my favorite people on the planet, Michael Badnarik:

  3. I love the Reduce America’s Debt Now Act for exactly the reason you pointed out – now all of the idiots who piss and moan (posturing) that taxes should be higher have no excuses!

  4. About the money to “pay down debt” because of how fund accounting works they can easily (and will) use the additional contributions for the stated purpose and decrease the money that is usually allocated to service the debt by a corresponding amount.

    In addition to your point about the govt just issuing new debt to replace the paid-off debt they will do the following:

    Lets say they have 10,000 allocated to service debt as part of the regular budget. Then a contributor comes along and gives 10,000 to go toward that same budget item. They aren’t going to pay 20,000 toward the debt. Instead they will put the contributed funds toward paying the 10,000 then take the allocated 10k and reallocate it toward something else. Any contributions will effectively increase government spending in total by exactly that amount.

    This is a huge scam.

  5. 1. I wouldn’t give them any money.
    2. I think everyone should plant a garden like the lady in Oak Park. If you live in one of those home owners associations look to change the bylaws.

  6. Jack, I am having a lot of trouble today loading your web site. Never had this kind of difficulty before. I crashed twice trying to post this comment.

    The Oak Park Illinois contact list is as follows. Pay special attention to the names I have highlighted in BOLD. These bolded names include the Mayor Naftaly, the head code enforcment dude named Kevin Rulkowski who is pressing the charges against Julie Bass to the max, the lacky-henchman of Kevin Rulkowski (an underling code enforcer named Keven Jones) who lied lied lied lied lied in court aginst Julie Bass when he swore up and down that the code enforcement department told her not to put the garden in (she claims they did not; she claims they merely said “We’re not sure”). Have at it:

    City of Oak Park
    13600 Oak Park Boulevard
    Oak Park, MI 48237

    Departments Phone

    ACCOUNTING: 248.691.7490
    Cece Tipton – Accounts Payable

    Debbie Kyte – Payroll
    Fax Number 248.691.7157

    ASSESSING: 248.691.7550
    Dean Bush – City Assessor

    Sona Grewal —

    Christine Cooper —
    Fax Number 248.691.7157

    CABLE OPERATIONS: 248.691.7538
    Matthew T. Brandimarte – Cable/IT Supervisor

    Jennifer Howard – Computer/Video Technician
    Fax Number 248.691.7162

    CITY CLERK’S OFFICE: 248.691.7544
    Tonni Bartholomew – City Clerk

    Janet Cisneros —
    Fax Number 248.691.7167

    CITY MANAGER: 248.691.7410

    Rick Fox – City Manager

    Diane Lemanski – Assistant to the City Manager

    Sandra Moulton – Administrative Secretary

    Vacant – Ombudsman
    Fax Number 248.691.7171

    CITY COUNCIL: 248.691.7410

    Mayor Gerald E. Naftaly

    Mayor Pro Tem Michael M. Seligson

    Council Person Angela Diggs Jackson

    Council Person Paul Levine

    Council Person Emile Duplessis
    Fax Number 248.691.7171

    Departments Phone

    PUBLIC WORKS: 248.691.7497
    Kevin Yee – Director

    Rocco Fortura – Deputy Director

    Scott Lemarbe – Foreman

    Gary Shemetaro – Foreman

    Debbie Kyte – Payroll

    Cece Tipton – Accounts Payable
    Fax Number 248.691.7168

    Garage: 248.691.7496
    Bob Barletta – Master Mechanic

    RECREATION: 248.691.7555
    Roy Vultaggio – Director

    Scott Pratt – Deputy Director of Recreation

    Shawnie Stamper – Recreation Coordinator

    Cristin Spiller – Recreation Coordinator

    Tamara Finkler-Carter – Administrative Clerk
    Fax Number 248.691.7156

    SENIOR DIVISION: 248.691.7577
    Lynn Davey – Senior Center Coordinator

    Tonya Benge- Administrative Aid
    Clerical Aid 248.691.2358

    General Senior Office 248.691.7575
    Fax Number 248.691.2356


    Kevin Rulkowski-Director/City Planner

    Robert Barrett – Engineering Supervisor/Deputy Director of T & P 248.691.7580

    Vicky Brooks – Office Coordinator

    Priscilla Laney – Administrative Clerk

    Isha Gillyard – Administrative Clerk

    Planning Division: 248.691.7450

    Kevin Rulkowski – Director/City Planner

    Building Division: 248.691.7450
    Plumbing / Mechanical Inspector 248.691.7452
    Rental Inspections 248.691.7450

    Melissa LaPan – Code Assist / Animal Control

    Shawn Hairston – Code Assist / Animal Control

    John Hines – Building Division Supervisor

    Kevin Jones -Code Assist / Animal Control

    Electrical Inspector 248.691.7459
    Fax Number 248.691.7165
    Engineering Division: 248.691.7580

    Kevin Yee – City Engineer

    Robert Barrett – Engineering Supervisor/Deputy Director of T & P 248.691.7580

    Jennifer Wilson – Engineering Tech

    David DeCoster – Engineering Tech
    Fax Number 248.691.7165

    TREASURY: 248.691.7545
    Kathleen Lindroth – Deputy Treasurer

    Amber Dawkins – Finance Clerk

    Nadene Dana – Finance Clerk

    Fax Number 248.691.7157
    WATER: 248.691.7470
    Steve Lukasik – Finance Clerk

    Tenesha Thomas – Finance Clerk

    Kevin Vandewalle – Meter Technician

    VACANT – Meter Technician 248.691.2353
    Fax Number 248.691.7467

  7. Oops! I made a typing error!

    I accidentally typed “Illinois” in that post where I listed all the names and ph numbers and emails. But it’s REALLY Michigan.

  8. Here’s that maggot’s contact info…
    Bass’s pretrial is scheduled for July 26. On her blog, she has asked that people supportive of her show up to her court hearings and submit her story to as many news organizations as possible. You could also try contacting Kevin Rulkowski. He can be called at 248.691.7450 or emailed at

  9. 248-691-7400


    Here are the phone numbers for the city gov.
    Jack – post when we call to shut down the swithboard, I am in.

  10. My email to the foodkiller assclown. sorry…my image probably won’t come thru but it’s cool.


    Why in the world would you stop anyone from growing FOOD? With contamination from GMO’s and imported Chinese food you should be encouraging the community to follow suit!!! Don’t you know this is the new trend? Are you from this country????

    Instead of being a hero for your community you now get the
    assclown award.jpg

    Get with the program.

    With deep sincerity,
    Veronica Deevers

  11. No wont give any $ to government. I have tight times I got rid of my cell phone and cable. Did they get rid of theirs?

    I read the article about the lady who gardened in her front yard they said the problem was because the plants she planted were not “common” I think everyone should plant tomtoes and such in their yards then it becomes common. I’d donate $50 to make that happen. This is such crap. How any government can take food off your table. How much power will people give them? This is beyond BS I am so mad I can’t even see straight. The only thing I knew to do was pass it on to everyone I know so all can respond.

    I stopped relying on the word organic when I saw the word organic on a box of mac-n-cheese. How about use “natureculture” “naturepure” Argoclean Agropure Puregrow Classicculture Agroclassic I love comming up with new ideas like this. I get so high comming up with new plans. Just feeds the soul Would spend all day doing it but today is hubby’s bday so will have to come back to it.

  12. ok one more Pellucidculture pellucid transparently clear in style or meaning pellucidly grown

  13. Suggestion for the self certification concept: include a commenting system. So the public has a place to report cheaters. Great idea.

  14. Was thinking about the Alternative term for something that is truly organic. Without using the internet, I came up with a few, everything I could think of has already been taken. HAHA.

    A few of my favorites being: Truganic, Organiculture, Trunatural, and Agriganic … all already taken, oh well.

    the best one that I can’t find already on the internet so far is …. Paleorganic (pay-lee-organic) …. Something with Paleo- meaning “old” or “ancient” Because the idea is that the food grow is like that grown for tens of thousands or years. Maybe grown is new tools, but the product is still the same.

    Just a thought, maybe someone can take “Paleo” and do something better with it.

    Thanks for another great show!

    “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Timophy Ferriss

    • I was thinking TruGanic too but since its taken, how about RealGanic or FullGanic or AllGanic ?

  15. Retru is my suggestion for the certification name. Nothing on google for it. Real True food is the way I was thinking of it, or Re true, i.e. retry true certicifaction. Once you get it done I will promote the hell out of it with both my farmer friends and at the local farmers market.

  16. Doing my part to help the cause 🙂


    Kevin Rulkowski-Director/City Planner 248.691.7450 (may want to remind him )

    Robert Barrett – Engineering Supervisor/Deputy Director of T & P 248.691.7580

    Rick Fox – City Manager 248.691.7406

    Diane Lemanski – Assistant to the City Manager 248.691.7403

    Vicky Brooks – Office Coordinator 248.691.7463

    Priscilla Laney – Administrative Clerk 248.691.7461

    Isha Gillyard – Administrative Clerk 248.691.7462

    Feel free to let them know how you feel.


  17. Was wondering if there are any good writters out there that could write a form letter that could be emailed to Mi. We could pass that letter on to all we know and have people send it in. Maybe we could get it to go viral?

    Does any one know what kind of support she is getting from her home town?

    • Admittedly copy and pasted from someone else but here’s a start…

      Hello Mr. Rulkowski and whoever else this may concern,

      I would like to register my displeasure in how the city is handling the situation around Julie Bass’ garden.

      Aside from the fact that this is Julie’s own property and her garden is in absolutely no way affecting any of her neighbors, it just doesn’t make sense to be against a vegetable garden. Would a tree in the front yard be okay? What about an apple tree? What about a fig shrub? A plant is a plant.

      I commend Julie Bass for adopting a greener lifestyle and am outraged that she could be facing jail time, or any charges at all. Her behavior should be encouraged, not prosecuted. These gardens are healthy for her and the community. I request that you drop all charges and leave her and her family alone. I’m sure there are much, much better ways to spend your time funded on taxpayer dollars.

  18. @All I am planning the phone smack down for Friday, so be ready. I already emailed the assclown Rulkowski and told him it was coming, I sure he thinks I am talking out of my ass, please let us show him otherwise!

    • Phone smack, like a denial of service smack. Will it be an over load the phones kind of thing or a call a minute approach? I’ll wait to hear how you ring it in.

    • The city offices are all closed on Friday, Jack!!! Oil Lady has been trying to reach you to give information about this. Due to budget cuts, all city offices are closed each week on Friday. Perhaps a different day for the phone smack down would be a better choice.

  19. @all love some of the suggestions for an organic alternative so far. I like the report a cheater option, let the community police itself.

    Brian came up with Retru I like that but (don’t go there) is a phone facebook phishing scam!

    Real and True though, that is good. I also like Paleo, Traditional is another great root word in meaning if not in sound.

    I don’t know been bashing my brain on this one for two days now.

  20. Thanks Jack for the kind words about the website – glad you like it, and I hope your audience does as well!

    To Oil Lady and anyone else having issues with the site: I’d be interested in hearing more about the problems. It could be server issues or there could be something with the design itself. If you have issues with the site you could either drop Jack a note or contact me through my website ( so I can look into it.

    I totally want this site to ROCK on all browsers and on mobile devices, but sometimes it’s hard to troubleshoot everything from the outset.

  21. Regarding the Tilapia:

    Jack you reflect my feelings on this issue perfectly.

    First, I should say I’m surprised at how right the article was, although still not enough emphasis was placed on the core issue:

    “Also, farmed tilapia contains a less healthful mix of fatty acids because the fish are fed…”

    It’s all about how they are fed. This point cannot be stressed enough. It’s not about the particular type of fish…

    The same problem exists in beef. It’s well established that grass-fed and finished beef have a better (healthier and more resembling natural) Omega-6/3 ratio. Stuffing things full of corn and grains results in lower quality meat.

    I am interested in starting an aquaponics setup. However, for anyone considering doing so, if you want to really improve over industrial food you need to understand this shortcoming. I intend to provide non-grain foods to the fish that more closely resemble natural diet, such as BSF larvae, maggots, plant material (like duckweed) and anything else I find along the way. Same goes for rabbits, chickens and any other livestock: Find things you can feed them to exclude conventional corn/grain from their diets.

    I’m sure some other trade group (like say farm raised catfish) will pick up on this and point to how Tilapia is “bad for you”, then try and sell you their own corn-fed fish. Most people will buy it of course, and around and around we go…

  22. Just going to put this out there about the alt to “organic” something along the lines of “nature endorsed” could have fun with the logo too.

  23. Jack, youdon’t have to apologize for ranting on the Oak Park morons, that’s something worth while to rant about. I’ve been ranting about it to everybody I know for days and I’m sure I’ll continue for many more.

  24. An idea for self-certification
    Respectarianism: The culture of respect for our food.
    • Feed you crops and livestock what nature intended
    • No torturous conditions for livestock.
    • No genetic engineering.
    • No monoculture.
    • ?

  25. Regarding talapia, a recent broadcast of Health Talk with Dr Ronald Hoffman, discussed the huge omega 3/6 imbalance resulting from the feed used in farming.
    Another interesting factoid: a can of sardines packed in oil has the equivalent of 12 omega 3 capsules. I’m adding sardines to my prep (I like them!).

    • @dowtech, I agree about the sardines. I wait for my local coop to have a member appreciation week to get an extra discount and I buy them by the case. They store and can be used in recipes.

  26. I can’t find the website right now, but I’ve been following this insanity past couple of weeks (Oak Park). There was one website that was posting phone numbers, emails etc. If I remember right Kevin, the city planner was no longer answering his phone, but others in the office where.
    If you are on Facebook, like their page:!/pages/Oak-Park-Hates-Veggies/184553881597878?sk=info
    Oak Park’s mayor says the lady’s lawyer is doing this to make him look bad in an election year.

  27. Jack, great show. Quick clarification on comment regarding atrazine during the rice story; it is not gmo like LibertyLink or Roundup. Atrazine has actually been used for decades on non-gmo corn, gmo corn and even sweetcorn (most sweetcorn around our area has atrazine sprayed on it); it is actually one of the first chemical herbicides. Not saying it’s great stuff because it has it’s own issues as it often shows up in water supplies and has in the past been abused because it was cheap but it’s not a gmo like the others. Thanks Jack

  28. Some name ideas:
    “Nature-rated” or “fully nature-rated”
    I’d suggest “tastipur” but that appears to be a city in Bangladesh. 🙂

  29. LOVE the paleorganic idea! Let the clowns in the gov’t try to put their spin on THAT!
    Will have the cell phone ready for Friday!

  30. My dictionary defines suitable with: right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation

  31. About the tick-the-boxes idea:
    I remember Eliot Coleman once saying something like, “This is really a sun-run system!” when he was describing his unheated glass houses…
    The idea of a system being sun run always stuck with me since then.
    Maybe someone can work with that. Loved the ‘paleo’ idea, too – think that’s a great way to group what will possibly be some very divergent ideas on farming practice.
    …imagine trying to define monoculture. Is that 100 lettuces in a row? Is it half an acre of barley surrounded by a diverse hedgerow? Is it single species grazing? Whew!

  32. Pingback:The Survival PodcastSurviving the Modern World | Surviving the Modern World

  33. Here’s what I think about the “organic” label.

    I’m not sure what it should be called, but I always felt there should be a 3rd party, free market label to the whole thing. As you said, a list of standards that should be maintained to be called “organic”.

    What I’d really like to see is this. A 3rd party, free market business/website that puts products to the test. Kind of like a consumer reports for food and food products. A company that claims the new “organic” label would most assuredly be put to the test. If it gets a seal of approval, they could even put that on their packaging for further marketing. It wouldn’t be for just the new “organic” labels, but for any food product from any company.

    Imagine if you could pull out your phone, and go to a mobile website of this company and look up various products while your’re at the store, or even a farmers market. Or imagine being able to scan the UPC code on your phone and it pulls up that products and shows you the 3rd party review, and a grade for the product based on it method in which it was produced.

    Imagine if it gained such traction, that people started checking products and their grade under all sorts of categories. Like I said, those that do good could even put that on the packaging. If something like that really took off, it could even hurt a company for not being upfront about it’s product. People may even shop based on that grade or seal of approval.

    Just my two cents on it.

  34. I like Paleorganic.

    And he idea of an “organic seal of approval” has been batted around the natural foods industry for years now. I’m not sure what the holdp has been in trying to get such a seal of approval off the ground. But it’s high time it happened. And the proponents of TRUE organic food had better do it before a scheister front company for Big Agro does it for them.

  35. I really like agritrue!

    @Derek, if we make the label mean something, keep totally free, only set the standards and require a “pledge” to use the label and allow for reporting of cheaters, well, any third party out there will be free to set up a watchdog group.

    Big suppliers would probably pay the group to certify them. The reality is that no one is going to doubt Farmer Joe at the Farmers Market with his beans and tomatoes and there is probably little reason to do so.

    So there is little need for a watchdog organization in the beginning, community self policing is all we would need. But if it takes off the entire system leaves the option of third party watch dogs and third party certifiers open and profitable for anyone who wants to do it.

    • Hi Jack,

      Here’s a word I just though of: nutribonic

      Almost sounds like organic, but meaning “good nutrition”

      Nutrition (also called nourishment or aliment) is the provision, to cells and organisms,
      of the materials necessary (in the form of food) to support life.

      bon (latin) – good

      no hits on google at least

  36. I am responding to the Eric who is considering Nurse Anesthesia vs Nurse Practitioner. I am a Nurse Anesthetist and I think you are overestimating the actual annual income for both degrees, but you are not overestimating the CRNA salary as much. The best bang for the buck is CRNA. The CRNA has much more autonomy than the Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist. Things to consider: How many years will you practice? How much debt do you have now? How much debt can you pay off before school starts?

    • @Aaron, thank you for sharing your practical experience and knowledge on this.

  37. Jack,
    Glad to hear your comments on the guy trying to start his own business. Perfectly in sync with my own thoughts, but i’ve got a jump and already started a domain and wordpress. I sure as shit aint going to dump money into something that isnt a sure bet, and as this is my first business i figured the $70 for hosting for a year was plenty. I have some questions about your business and would like to get in touch with you.. shoot me an email or check out the site. Thanks,

  38. For an alternate to the organic label:
    Is ‘Nature Crafted’ taken?
    Allow nature to do its job with a boost here and there with compost, hugelkultur, providing companions to attract predators, etc., but no chemicals.

  39. I like Paul Wheaton’s idea of having more of a ranking system for food growers. Such as maybe you have:

    Plants (I wouldn’t say use permaculture because by answering the following you are going to have to do permaculture, or else you just aren’t going to be able to meet these requirements)

    No pesticides
    No herbicides
    No irrigation
    No fertilizer
    Soil is containment free (no growing in fertilize soil from a previous year or with heavy doses of toxic metals in soil)

    Allowed to roam in a padic system
    Killed in a humane manner
    No steroids
    No antibiotics
    Fed all natural products with no pesticides or herbicides
    Fed 100% off the crops raised on the farm
    Fed 100% natural diet to the animal
    No bacterial outbreaks

    If they are half way there then they get a 5 rating. If they meet all the criteria then they get a 10.

    All you need is to have a public option on the site where people can comment on the grower and maybe two bad strikes and you lose your rating. People can add a grower but the grower must fill out the check boxes. They can even leave a description, logos and pictures. Then you could provide them stickers for a fee to label their products and a link to the site. Its marketing for them and they market the web site.

    I would love to work on this project if you need a database or web site let me know. I’m a database architect so that would be right up my alley.

  40. @Adam, Actually I think that is way to limiting.


    Let’s look at a “paddock system”, what about rabbits, they are best raised in hutches and quite happy that way. What qualifies as a paddock, 1/2 acre divided into 4 sections or would you need an acre for four? Besides just because Paul (who I really love and respect) says paddock is the way to go doesn’t mean everyone else is wrong. What about true free rangers?

    Next, no fertilizer? Hmm, so is blood and bone okay? What about bat guano? What about fish emulsion? All of those are fertilizers. So may be it is no petrol based fertilizers?

    This is going to be more complicated than people might imagine.

    Cause like next, lots of people say “no monocropping”, interesting and in principal I agree. But if a farmer has 20 acres and plants his crops in blocks on it, grows 20 items on 20 acres is that monocropping? I say no, others may say yes because he didn’t inter-plant.

    My hope is what we can come up with will guarantee the consumer…

    1. No GMO
    2. No chemical pesticides
    3. No damage to the soil/land used
    4. Ethical treatment/slaughter of animals
    5. No antibiotics (other than for acute treatments of individuals)
    6. No hormones
    7. No GMOs fed to livestock (but what about cross pollination?)

    So this gets complicated, we have to form groups to evaluate everything in time.

    No monocropping becomes a minimum number of cultivated species per acre or something more scalable such as minimum numbers that scale to larger land tracts.

    Free range – paddocks – Becomes a required standard for each primary livestock animal. We don’t treat chickens and rabbits the same, we can’t.

    Etc. Hope that makes sense and starts to demonstrate the complexity and how we will have to work hard to keep something this complex very simple.

    • @Jack –
      The Paul Wheaton comment was less to do with Paddocks and more to do with a ranking system. That is a big problem with the FDA organic rating, its all or nothing. It really doesn’t tell me how one organic grower stacks up to another. I have no easy way to really find out their growing practices. I also do not have a way to look up the farm in the store because most times they aren’t identified on the package. That to me is the market need.

      I want to go to the store, rank the produce or meat and be able to quickly access their growing practices, kind of like I can do at the farmers market or when I buy a side of beef. I think a scale also gives the grower an incentive to get better and identifies areas to improve. To a consumer a scale allows comparison from one grower is to another.

      I think you are dead on with the categories. In no way was my list complete, it was more a poor attempt to highlight the scale because I see that very important. Maybe you have a fertilizer category, if you use blood and bone meal, chop and drop, or no fertilizer than that counts as a 10. If you dump chemical fertilizers then you get a 0 for that category. If you use steer manure that from a feedlot that’s a 5. Anyways, the category totals roll up to a main total. This is what the producer can put on their package for that type of item say plant and a different one for animal. Then you simplify it for the consumer and the producer has to run through a 5 to 10 minute check list.

      To me monoculuture isn’t super important because more power to you if you are going to have 20 acres of corn and use blood and bone meal, no pesticides and no GMO.

      With the paddock system and rabbits versus chickens, I think that would be an animal quality of life category. How happy is that animal in its life. Happiest or 10 would be its natural environment. Maybe a 9 is caged for rabbits or maybe its a 10, you can tell I don’t have rabbits yet 🙂 With chickens a paddock system might be a 9, free range might be a 10, chicken factory would be a 0, caged would be a 2, chicken tractor might be a 6, etc… I’m just making this all up and stealing some of Paul’s ideas on this one, but trying to show a scale 😉

      There is an app for the Iphone called Good Guide that does this thing for products like toilet bowl cleaner that you buy.

      • See to me that is all to complicated and all to subjective. Have you ever raised rabbits in a hutch system? They breathe clean air, never sit in their own waste, they seem more than happy enough. Further free range of rabbits really just doesn’t work.

        Why is steer manure less viable as a nutrient source than something like say blood and bone, hell it may very well be less of an issue if that blood and bone is poultry based.

        Now you are really helping here, my thoughts are starting to merge these things. What if this system set a minimum standard, then a grower sets up a profile that creates a survey for them, that survey allows disclosure of what they do.

        Hell that would even allow for the use of some fertilizer. There are places and times were small amounts of what most would consider a “commercial fertilizer” makes sense.

        Do you know that in and of itself commercial fertilizer does no harm? N, P and K are the same atoms, the same molecules no matter the source. The problem with fertilizer is it becomes a crutch, rather than a boost, it is used as 100% of the source of fertility. If farmers/growers used fertilizers in a ratio of say 70% natural sources to 30% commercial there really wouldn’t be a problem.

        The problem with commercial fertilizer is only how well it actually works, it works well enough that you can literally kill the soil and still get it to produce if you just add more of it. It isn’t what the fertilizer does, it is what it allows the land owner to not do, it allows them to ignore the soils needs.

        • Subjective doesn’t seem all that bad if you have consistent criteria around the decision and clearly state why a 10 is a 10 and a 8 is an 8. With the steer manure you might have traces of Round Up in it, learned that one from you 🙂 therefore, it might go down on the list. Or maybe, do you test your natural fertilizers if so you get a plus 1 or 2 on the scale.

          I think you just stated the case why commercial fertilizer would be down the scale. So, if you have a 1 for then you state this is the reason why. Someone can I don’t agree but they know why the rating is what it is.

          I have never raised rabbits which is why I throw out the idea, other members who have would have to add a better ranking. That is why your idea of opening it to the community is great. People should vote on the rankings. To me a 10 might be almost impossible to make in some categories. I have a ton of rabbits roaming around here and they are free range. So, if I caught a few and took them to a farmers market is that better than a cage? Would there be a premium or is it no big deal? So, my thought is quality of life being a cage versus roaming around seems a step down. Now, you can easily tell, I have never raised rabbits, so I would defer to people that have as long as they give me a reason why. Therefore, next to the rankings would be a description of why a cage is a 10. This would also educate people and explain why its a 10 and allow for debate. Its subjective, but if you are consistent, all I can say well I don’t believe in that so I will ignore that one part of the scale. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, what we need is a way to provide consistent data to the market. Plus, nothing says rankings can’t be revisited every year or so.

          I can’t tell if you are aiming at taking scaling system apart or picking my ratings apart. Because I’m just throwing out ideas and numbers to represent a scale system. You are more an expert on this than I because I’m just new to it thanks to you. Therefore, experience people would flush out the ratings and criteria. Its a wealth of information that consumers just don’t have today.

          I think the scale gives room for improvement in areas and defines why there is a premium on prices.

          Also, I don’t see how though just a simple “Natural” certification gets away from subjectivity. You still have to internally rank, you just aren’t exposing a yes or no scale. Hell the FDA is full of that, just push give them more money they give you a cool sticker.

        • I guess the other thing I would say is maybe step back from the details a bit and what is the market need? I have an idea in my head and am trying to kind of provide a system and you have an idea in your head.

          My thoughts are:
          The business case is the market is not served by the organic label today.

          Why? Because non-natural methods are considered to be organic such as GMO, animal mistreatment or land destroying practices are still acceptable.

          The FDA\USDA places too much burden on small farms practicing natural practices to register.

          The Organic rating is not specific enough.

          Consumers do not fully understand what the organic label means.

          Consumers do not fully understand good farming practices.

          There is no central place that I can find out about local farmers in my area and what they offer.

          How do you solve and market a solution:
          A solution that farmers will want to partake in, they need a benefit. How do you deliver value to the farmer he is the primary customer. Primary because without any farmers participating the plan is DOA.
          A solution that reaches consumers the secondary customer.
          A solution that will educate consumers.

          My solution is a general ranking label that can be placed on the farmers products. On the label is a number with a URL for more information on this producer. It is a public web based solution that farmers can freely join with no or little cost. Consumers can use the labels to learn more about the rankings and the farmers themselves with access to the Internet through a variety of medium. The solution can be monetized with ads for certain farms or through selling the labeling. Verification is left up to the consumer the ability to leave ratings themselves on the site. Kind of like those movie rating sites.

  41. I’m thinking that what is missing from the food system is transparency and a standard method of documentation or presentation or format which the consumer can digest the information and feel informed. I’m not sure another restriction list is what is needed just have the farming practice visible and known. The consumer customer will choose what they want.
    Hopefully the farm that is upfront and honest wins. The big thing is people have to pay attention and make the food system a priority for everyone to win. Good old-fasion traditional high quality food that kids can grow strong and healthy on and the next generation and the next.

    • 100% agree. That’s the problem with the FDA its a false sense of security because the companies hide behind it saying yep we are good because they approve us.

  42. Transparency, couldn’t anyone growing good food add a QR label to their package, which when scanned tells how it was grown? Doable now?

    • Read my recent comments at the bottom, that is sort of how I want this to work. A minimum standard with additional voluntary disclosure.

  43. @txmom there could be an app for that, so people can get the low down on the farm and food at the grocery store or farmers market stand. Just scan a farmer’s tag and the information would present itself. We’ve got to leverage the wide spread technology to disperse information at the point of sale if we want to promote good safe healthy traditional food.

  44. @adam, Going to start a new chain in response to you here.

    First I don’t think we are far apart on this at all. I do not and frankly as the person who is going to fund and build this will not do this as a “ranking system” because it will actually ruin one of your key points.

    Making it worth while for producers. A scoring system is again subjective. Who am I or you or anyone to say which natural fertilizer is a 10 and which is a 7?

    My view is so close to what you are proposing, again I feel reasonable minds can conceive of a baseline standard of something that provides safe and nutritious food with no environmental damage. The consumer though would have access to a full disclosure by the producer.

    Heck I even bought a .mobi domain for this, think smart phones and on your certificate is a scanner code, the buyer can scan the code and see your producer profile with questions like,

    What is the total size of your operation
    What crops do you produce
    List the methods you use for soil fertility

    The scoring system would be so full of problems and cause so much infighting as to ruin the entire thing before it got off the ground. Why should a producer gamble on a new label when it scores him at 60%? That 60% may be a 500% improvement on the Walmart produce section and a 200% improvement on the USDA organic label but the consumer just wonders what is missing in the 40%

    Next if it takes off the 70% people accuse the 99% people of controlling the agenda. With my method you go to a market, the guy has his cert published. If you are opposed 100% to any commercial fertilizer you know if he does or does not use it.

    However another consumer that just wants no pesticides, no herbicides, no GMOs knows anything under the label qualifies.

    So what if a producer just wants to meet minimum and disclose nothing further, fine, the consumer gets to know that too.

    That is a free market system because the market does the scoring not the people running it, does that make sense.

  45. Oh and Adam one more thing, as for “people voting” there is no greater vote than the vote of spending money or not spending money. If we can give people a viable alternative with a reasonable set of standards and an ability to know their producer well they vote by what they buy or don’t buy.

    If a person thinks it is okay to use 30% commerical fertilizer (which I don’t know would be allowed, hell it may very well end up 0 in the end) but doesn’t matter if consumers can look up a profile the producer begins to understand when dollars go else where.

    See you me and 400 granola eating hippies are not the market, the market is everyone.

    Now there have to be some standard, with out it the system isn’t a system. Yet again I think that baseline is pretty easy to come to and anyone one who want to go beyond it as consumer or producer is welcome to.

    So the hippie that wants eggs from chickens fed only veggie matter can find people who do it, even though I think he is a nut bag. Fricken chickens are omnivores, you would have to keep them in an insect free room to guarantee that.

  46. In fact (and I am not sold on this in fact I don’t think I will do it) but a case could be made that the system itself would set no standards and provide no scores. It would simply allow people to know the how, what, why, etc of production.

    Walk up to a stand, scan a badge, get a profile, there is the survey, there are pictures of the farmers operation, etc.

    I don’t like that because I do think this is an opportunity to set a reasonable human standard, but as that would work it tell you we don’t have to be totalitarian about the minimum requirements.

    • I understand where you are now. From the show it sounded like you had a set of criteria and if you met them here was your new label, which is pretty much the FDA/USDA way. My proposal was really based around that idea and opening it up. I agree that the transparency model alone is a huge improvement. I fully agree that money is the key vote no need to sell here.

      I guess the question I have is why is this not currently in the market. Why is produce and meat not labeled with information to the farm? I guess fruit because its not sold in packages but they have those sticky labels already.

      The other question how to present that quickly to a mother that has 3 kids with her while running through the isle’s of Safeway. Would she take time to scan the label and would she have a smart phone?

      My thoughts on the label was I was trying to incentivise the farmer as a way to charge a premium based on the label, but maybe that is the problem with the “Organic” label today. I was also trying to give the consumer a reason to click through to the site. You are right that could be more headache than helpful.

      Either way, this is a good idea, don’t let it die you have the network to reach out to farmers across the country. That is a huge benefit.

  47. Jack,
    You always say this community is in sync and you are right!
    I was just getting ready to write you about my Roth 401k not offering a cash option and you addressed it today.
    I just started my own blog, have been doing tons of research (including and got to hear your great advice today on that subject!
    Thanks for the helpful info before I even had to ask 🙂

  48. Jack – I am very excited about the “Beyond Organic” (as Joel Salatin calls it) labeling system. I think it is a GREAT idea, and I hope you run it to ground. I would be very interested in assisting in any way possible with this. This feels like the start of a new “Slow Food” Movement, and I want to be in at the ground floor! 🙂
    Doc K

  49. I just wanted to weigh in with my suggestion for a name that competed with “organic”.

    Because all of this comes from Jack and the extended TSP community, I thought that the name “Ant-Minded” seemed appropriate. Crops grown or animals raised in an “Ant-Minded” manner will need to adhere to the following tenents:

    • Commercially raised crops and Livestock are fed flora and fauna that has not been chemically or artificially enhanced in any way by Man
    • Free-range conditions for fauna are required, and flora must originate from either heirloom or hybrid seeds
    • Genetic engineering is prohibited (though selective husbandry and cross-pollination is allowed)
    • The farmer / rancher may only culture or mix other elements of flora and fauna from its native state to assist in his or her yields (i.e. – All chemically produced and/or enhanced fertilizers and pesticides are forbidden)

  50. Hi, Jack thanks for the show and all you do. for the New label I think “naturally grown” is a good one. Simple easy and to the point.

    thanks again.

  51. My input is that the new organic name should include the concept of being wholistic, this comes from studying David Holmgren’s expert work. He more or less attributes the unsustainabillity of modern agriculture to a lack of wholistic thinking…

  52. how about
    paleo-steading or agri-steading just to rub it into the dervaes noses.

  53. i like the concept of a survey vs a point system. just need to ensure that some of the survey questions are open ended to allow for the producer to describe their system to the consumer.

    one of the issues with a point system would be similar to the LEED system with buildings. designers will design for points and you dont necessarily get the most sustainable building that way.

    • @Ben – The LEED system comparison is interesting. What I was aiming for was a way to provide a value to the farmer to want to sign up. A monetary incentive for improving their practices that they can measure. My company develops software for the construction industry. When customers and potential employees come to our building is we give them a tour and explain to them everything about our Gold certified LEED building. We use it as a selling point. It is a flawed rating like most are, but it still is a measuring stick that has value to organizations and consumers. It is also something quick to say that sparks interest where the advantages of the building can then be explained like capturing rainwater from the roof into swales.

      In my mind, and I could be wrong about this, but I see most consumers looking for a quick way to compare products on healthy concerns. That is what the word organic does and that is why it has caught on. Most people have no idea what organic entails, just its a “healthier” food choice so they pay a premium.

      I know everyone in this community would sit in the store and scan labels with their smart phones to better educate themselves on a survey type system, I just wonder if that would translate to the soccer mom. I also wonder if it would translate to me if I had my 11 month year old with me and my 7 year old. I probably would do it when I got home and throw away lots of food 🙂 Is the market goal for people like those in this community or reaching the masses in the grocery stores?

      The other question I had, is some family farms have web sites with all this information already. That’s how I buy beef, I look up farms near me online and read about their practices. So my question is why is most packaging in the store is bland with no farm labels or links to more information? Is the idea of a label dead in the water because the retailers won’t have them? Which leaves this then just labels for farmers markets where the same info can be gotten by talking to the farmer. So, the web site really just leaves a way to find and read up on farmers in your area, which is a true need as well. A centralized site would have great value too.

      Just my thoughts, trying to flush out some things for myself. We definitely need to get information out to the consumer, then the market would function better. That’s the problem with markets, when they have wrong or incomplete information they behave poorly.