The Canadian Organic Growers Respond to Mischa Popoff’s Book Entitled “Is It Organic”

Two weeks ago I interviewed Mischa Popoff who has written a book entitled, “Is it Organic?” This interview initiated several comments and emails directly to me that were both positive and negative.  Whenever we have controversial issues I am trying to engage different stakeholders to ensure that you are permitted to form your own opinions.

Based on the heat that the book is creating on this website, I thought it would be interesting to get the viewpoint and response from the Canadian Organic Growers.  I spoke with Laura Telford, who is the National Director of the Canadian Organic Growers about the book and not surprisingly she has a few different views that Mischa Popoff on the quality of Organic Certification in Canada.

See my interview with Mischa Popoff where he discusses his new book

Laura Telford is the National Director of the Canadian Organic Growers and is based in Ottawa.

If you cannot see the below embedded player, click here

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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5 Comments

Robert Wager

Yes it is a process and the process is fraut with cheaters as there is no testing of the process used to grow the food.

Without chemicals? Um no the organic industry can used a wide variety of chemicals just not synthetic chemicals (except a couple of antibiotics for fire blight).

If you had actually read the book you would see how no testing was done on those that you claim should have been tested for red flags raised.

Why not test for synthetic fertilizers and for organophosphate insecticides and herbicides as all other food is tested for these.

Testing is not a regular part of your system and you know that is a fact. If Micha is wrong please supply a list of organic farms tested in the past year for unauthorized inputs. If you are correct this should be a very simple thing to do.

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Rob Wallbridge

Robert,

If you had actually listened to the interview, you would hear why testing is not a regular feature of the organic certification process, BUT that organic food is tested by the CFIA as part of the testing they do for all other food.

So far, I have never seen any indication from the results of these tests and those done in the U.S. that the “process is fraut (sic) with cheaters”. Please provide proof of this insulting claim against the integrity of Canadian farmers.

Shaun, thank you very much for providing this perspective.

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Vlad

Having listened to both interviews, more of a concern to me is the fact that an organic inspector would claim that if unannounced tests were to be introduced into the current system, it would lead to a de-certification of 50-80% of organic output. It would have been interesting to get both Mischa’s source of this estimate and Laura’s opinion on its validity.

Another point of disagreement is that Mischa sees organic certification as merely a mountain of paperwork, whereas Laura sees “the organic plan” in particular as a “compelling” and valid safeguard of organic integrity. I think both sides should elaborate further on their respective positions on this issue.

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Vivian

Nobody is forced to consume so-called conventional or organic products. If you don’t trust them – don’t spend the money on them. It is not so much about the 100% purity of an organic product, but the philosophy behind the system. It is about principles as outlined by IFOAM. It is about the survival of farms of all sizes in all countries versus global agri-business in only some countries, about growing and producing food utilizing natural principles to a sustainable maximum, and not against nature (GMO). It is very much about animal welfare – often forgotten. The paper piles are growing as they do in all aspects of our modern life. Why? Because we or they can! Certain insufficiencies and fears/responsibilities are covered up that way (think about the fine print coming with a pre-paid cell phone contract!). Testing will not stop cheating, may be decrease it a bit. Otherwise our prisons would be empty by now. It will for certain produce more sophisticated cheating models. If we want to avoid this we have to dismantle the strong correlation between the amount of money involved and corruption. Basically, that is nothing to do with organics or testing. The paper pile will only grow.

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Trish Jordan

Thanks Sean for this discussion. I really appreciated your perspective and list of things you know to be true as a farmer. I am admittedly sensitive to this constant debate about which system is better and which is more sustainable. Farmers decide, not Monsanto. our job is to develop and offer products that farmers value. Monsanto – and our competitors – must compete for a farmer’s business every day. If we don’t have the products the farmer wants, or the farmer doesn’t like our business practices, then the farmer makes a choice to do business elsewhere. Telford laments the decline in conventional sources of seed and fewer options for conventional or organic growers. True. But why? Because farmers are demanding improved seeds with new traits that deliver yield. And I don’t blame any seed company trying to run a business for stocking its shelves with the seed and technology products that farmers want.

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