Friday, April 27, 2012

Why we're not CO, why I hate labels today

I've been working away on extra fun things for the farm, not.

Things like researching certification costs and benefits, I find myself frequently contacting these organizations to ask, no what is it your organization is going to do for US? Why should I send you my hard-earned money? What are you going to do with it?

Not surprisingly, I don't seem to be getting many e-mails back...
(Except from Practical Farmers, I think they've got some new members!! Very impressed)

One that we'd especially love to participate in, but is not going to happen any time soon, is becoming certified organic. There are a few reasons why:

(1) And I would LOVE to be wrong on this one, looking at the CSI organic certification policy manual (CSI being the closest group too us), to my math, it would cost us $1450+ to become certified, and $1200+ every year to maintain that certification; and that's just for Canadian certification. Becoming CO will not add $1200 to our bottom line, we're not big enough and no one wants to pay $15/kg for chicken.

(2) Does it really make more sense to truck in tons of organic food for $$$ more money, when we can get the same quality non GMO feeds grown more locally? Now, there is some leniency in the organic regs to make up for this dichotomy, but if we can get organic feeds, we need to use it and pay for it.

(3) Logistically, for instance we're sending the cows out to another farmer's pasture for the summer so we don't have to bring a bull in (again, we're too small - not worth the money, hassle or risk without proper facilities); and this causes all sorts of issues and would be a paperwork nightmare for the CO people.

That's it. It's all about the money really.

Other then that we will be fully organic compliant as soon as we get a hedge row growing along our back fence, and even that I'm not sure we even need it (our neighbours don't spray right up to the fence).

So if we're not going to be C.O. what else can we get in on?

A lot of these certifications cost money, where it's $20 or $1000; I'm having a hard time seeing the benefits of "officially" labelling our products. I want to be supportive of some of these initiatives, but at the same time we need that money to stay on the farm to support our initiatives.

Instead I'd just like to label our products myself:
  • Hormone free
  • Antibiotic free 
  • Cruelty free
  • Bee friendly
  • Bird friendly
  • Fish Friendly
  • Farm fresh
  • Ecologically minded
  • Sustainably minded
  • Heritage minded
  • Organic 
  • Local
  • Grass-fed
  • Family farm
  • Low oil
  • Small scale
  • Full of pain in the ass goats
But try fitting all that on a 2x4" sticker.

We are, however, part of Foodland Ontario.
Which basically means our food is grown here, in Ontario. Well... duh...

No comments:

Post a Comment