The Search for Real Organic Foods
Is everything organic, 100% organic?
Is it organic friendly?
Is a “certified” product 100% safe?
Let’s start from the beginning.
In general, 100% free of pesticides, or anything added to the product from seed to crop, is usually realistic on a micro-farming scale. It’s feasible when a farmer has a smaller piece of land to handle and less amount of plants to take care off and that’s because these plants need a lot of taking care off. When there is nothing there to keep predators away (all kinds of diseases and organisms who would feed on the crop), you need to be present yourself, to trim the plants on a daily basis, clean up and keep anything aggressive towards your produce away.
That! Is a lot of work. Is work that doesn’t get paid off. And it’s -sort off- ok when you deal with smaller plants like most vegetables, but fruits and olives (for olive oil) grow on trees and trees need a lot more work! Even on the level of micro-farming, it’s still more work than one person can handle.
So… 100% watered only when handling rather small crops? Yes!
Higher cost? Yes! It should be.
Worth it? It does. It really does. Cause at the end, you end up with only the best of the best on your dinner table. Much better taste, much better quality, much better experience.
So does all the above mean that a farmer who owns a few -or more than a few- acres is not 100% organic.
Well, we can’t vouch for everybody on the planet, simply because we don’t know how every single producer operates, but…
…common sense tells us that when you need to pay for personnel as well as equipment, which is an expense that micro-farmers don’t have, then you can easily see that the numbers just don’t add up. With real, pure organic farming, you throw a lot of your products away. They are not sellable for a variety of reasons. So that’s wasted effort, time and money for the farmer. What they are left with, does not generate enough revenue to cover all expenses, let alone make -some- profit. So the solution is to minimize the amount of products you throw away. Cause then, it makes sense. And that! Is only possible with the use of certified organic friendly additives to your crop.
This is a list with substances which are allowed for use in organic farming in the USA alone:
- Bacillus subtilis
- Bacilus thuringiensis
- Beauveria bassiana
- Boric acid: Structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.
- Coniothyrium minitans
- Copper: Copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, provided that copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.
- Copper sulfate: Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.
- Corn gluten
- Cydia pomonella granulosis
- Diatomaceous earth
- Gibberellic acid
- Horticultural vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Lime sulfer: Including calcium polysulfide
- Minerals such as elemental sulfur, bicarbonate, or kaolin clay
- Myrothecium verrucaria
- Non-detergent insecticidal soaps: As a pesticide, fungicide, or algaecide for food crops
- Oils, including petroleum, vegetable, and fish oils: Types include dormant, suffocating, and summer oils
- Peracetic acid: For use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations at a concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label
- Pheromones and pheromone traps
- Plant-derived substances such as neem, caraway oil, seed fennel, quassia, or ryania
- Streptomycin sulfate and tetracycline
- Sticky traps
- Vitamin D3: As a rodencide
Most of the above substances are either natural or naturally produced. The product can still be certified as “organic” and you, the consumer, don’t get poisoned by some evil chemical substance that will give you cancer (or worst). So it’s a win-win situation. But the product is still, not 100% pure organic. It’s organic-ish.
Every country of course have their own rules and guidelines.
So to answer the three questions on top: Not everything organic is 100% organic. But it is still safe, much safer than conventional products.
And the million dollar questions is: Are the products we host on our web-site organic or organic-ish.
Pangaea deals only with micro-farmers. We explain in another article how and why. Everything we distribute is organic. Real, pure, actual, watered only… products! (“made with love”, is what some of them call it).