There are three major farming methods in America. Conventional farming are those farmers that use all kinds of chemicals to grow food. Organic farming are farmers whom use less chemicals, some of them are considered “soft” insecticides that include insecticidal soaps, bt and pyrethrum. All natural/Nature Grown farming are farmers whom use natural methods to grow vegetables. There are no chemicals, soaps, bt bacteria, large animal manures nor anything else unnatural.
Some farmers say they are natural or organic but are they? I know some of the farmers throughout Arizona. Most of them are not what they represent. Those farmers sell at many local farmers markets, restaurants, schools and hospitals. Several years ago while attending the Estrella Farmers Market a larger farmer came up to me and wanted to buy my vegetables to resell them under his name and organic certification. One of the local television stations anchor lady endorsed his farm while talking on a cooking segment and she raved about his farm and food. What she didn’t know was he was growing some of his own produce and buying much more from other entities.
Many of the farms participating in local farmers markets are deceiving the public. Their signs say certified naturally grown, certified organic and many other catch phrases but that doesn’t mean they are who they say they are. Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), farmers are those that belong to an organization who police themselves. Members of the CNG organization inspect each others farm and pass them off as one of their own. The problem is, most of those participants look the other way when it comes to ratting the infected farmer that doesn’t follow the CNG rules and regulations. Also, CNG participants use the chemicals and many other concoctions.
Certified organic farmers use chemicals and pesticides too. My last count totaled over 740 available pesticides, insecticides that also include many soft sprays and chemicals. What’s the point of being certified organic if a farmer uses anything other than a natural substance? Why even buy organic? The arguable flip side is there is less chemicals used in that farming method.
There is something wrong with this scene. I believe there should be some sort of governing body to police the farmers and markets so customers can be fully educated with the food they purchase. Maybe markets should be broken down according to their growing practices. Put all the organic farmers together, conventional together and so on. All participating farmers should go through several surprise visits by the market managers during the market season. Market managers should be educated with regards to planting seasons, recognizing the many different growth stages of the more common fruits and vegetables and do more than just have each farm hand in a crop plan. Also, market managers should be educated in the organic rules and regulations so there are no co-mingling infractions, storage and shipping protocol and the many other rules pertaining to keeping food safe. The big box stores must follow USDA guidelines, why not farmers markets? And now as of late, new labeling for GMO’s, gluten-free and several other new labels are beginning to show up on products all because of public demand. It’s time for cities, counties and states to initiate regulations on farmers markets. I’ve traveled all over the United States, several states are enforcing mandatory requirements for farmers, markets and box farmers to label their farms. I’m not a huge fan of government but some enforcement is necessary.
I don’t believe farmers markets should allow anyone to resell produce at a market. If a person wants bananas or tightly plastic wrapped up heads of cauliflower, let them go to the box stores. Reselling produce at a market puts a bad name on farmers markets. Years ago, I was selling a central Phoenix market when a lady came up to me and said “tell me this is a local pepper.” I said I’ve got yellow bell peppers on my tables, then she turned the pepper over and it had a grown in Mexico sticker. She was furious. Her intent was to support local, seasonal produce. Another lady came up to me at the same market and said, “how can I trust you?” How can you trust me, I said. “Yes, I want to know if what your sign says is true? All Natural is better than organic? I didn’t think there was anything better than organic and I thought organic meant natural?” She continued to tell me she has health problems and cannot eat anything that has chemicals. She’s now been a customer of mine for 9 years, she’s a member of my super-duper CSA program and her health problems have gone away. This is how important it is for farms and farmers markets to honestly label the correct signage for customers. I believe the customer should have the final say when choosing the foods they want to purchase.
I believe farmers should report any and all types of soil amendments, fertilizers and all variations of chemicals, foliar sprays and bacterias to the managers and public. Then, all markets should require each farmer to have the proper signage with regards to how their crops are grown. These are a few of my suggestions I feel are important for customers to know when they are wanting to buy from a farmer at a market.
I believe there should be a distinct difference between CNG and the way I farm. Since the term all natural is being so distorted, I’ve changed my wording to Nature Grown. My farm is a natural Nature Grown farm. There are several huge differences. My farm does not use any type of large animal manure. No so-called “soft chemicals” are used on my farm. No dish soap, bt nor any other type of chemical concoction is EVER used on my farm. Everything grows together in a large-scale bug warfare type planting by way of using wind directions and moon cycles to combat bad insects.
Don’t forget……..November 1, 2014 is the new fall season at the farm. Come on over and get veggie with it. Several vendors will be on hand for the opening celebration. Alaskan salmon, grass-fed beef, breads and pastries, jams and jellies and skin care products will be available. Check out the tab Directions to the Markets. Also, the veggie and vendor list will be posted next week. Get your refrigerator ready!
Tonopah Rob could use a few non smoking volunteers this upcoming week. Send an email to him if interested.
Welcome to Tonopah Rob's Vegetable Farm
Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog! Take a second to peek around and check out some of my previous posts. Of course, I would love to find out what you think as well, so make sure to comment. Send me an email to: email@example.com . Phone: 623 386 3033. Farm Address: 35838 W. Buckeye Rd. Tonopah, AZ 85354. Fall/Winter hours begin November 1, 2014 8 to noon every Saturday except for holidays. Summer hours begin May 24, 2014 Saturdays 7-11 a.m. See you around!