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earthsoul

is it worth being organically certified?

I just wondered, I sell eggs, meat etc and I would like to be in the woofers initiative but is the money on the certification worth it????
Rob R

Depends who you're selling to and in what volumes - large scale and remote from your consumers, possibly, small scale and building a relationship with the consumer, I doubt it.
gil

How much land have you got, (how much income are you expecting to make - don't answer this here), vs costs of certification, both financial and form-filling etc etc ??

For small producers, it's not worth it, unless you have a really high-value product, and an eager market.
Depends also on whether you are planning on selling locally (in which case, the local aspect is probably enough, and you can explain your methods to customers, i.e. organic-type methods but not certified as too expensive), or nationally to people you will not meet, or to wholesale customers who will insist on the form-filling etc.

FWIW, I never certified as organic, and I don't think it affected sales one way or the other. Though at the time, there was no organic standard for what I was making / selling (but there is now).
Mary-Jane

I believe that most consumers are more interested in their food being ethically produced rather than organic. We looked into the certification and it was the same whether you have 5 acres or 500 acres - bloody expensive.

I would advise marketig on the basis of ethics, rather than a certificate.
Nick

I believe that most consumers are more interested in their food being ethically produced rather than organic



That's because you sell locally, in a rural location, or to people who know you. Waitrose would tell you an Organic label, and beating the staff to death, followed by air shipment is better than any amount of ethics, so it depends.

However, I vote no, as it'll cost you a ton, and get you little in return. Unless you're a supermarket?
judith

My friends locally (sheep and cattle) have just dropped their organic certification - essentially too many hoops for too little gain for either their land, their animals or their pockets.
cassy

It seems quite normal now for small producers to state that they work to organic standards but are not certified due to cost.

I don't think it would make a difference if people are buying direct from you (it wouldn't to me).
gil

Not sure whether you need to be certified to host wwoofers - you certainly don't for HelpX, which is similar and some DSers have hosted folk under that scheme.
sean

Another no here. Unless you are/have plans to be a pretty big producer I can't see that the return on investment is there.
Mary-Jane

That's because you sell locally, in a rural location, or to people who know you. Waitrose would tell you an Organic label, and beating the staff to death, followed by air shipment is better than any amount of ethics, so it depends.


Fair point.
windyridge

Not sure whether you need to be certified to host wwoofers - you certainly don't for HelpX, which is similar and some DSers have hosted folk under that scheme.

I doubt my brother is certified (well in this take of the word Laughing ) and he hosts wwoofers
Tavascarow

A cheaper alternative to organic registration. Rob R

A cheaper alternative to organic registration.

And one that I endorse, and I think there are one or two others on here but I'll let them own up, in case I am wrong.
earthsoul

thank you
I am so grateful for that link
to be honest this site has been a real source of information and all from typing into a search engine male goats!!!!!
Katieowl

My neighbours who sells veg from their smallholding in the summer calls their produce "Naturally Produced" She explains to her customers that they don't use any chemicals in the growing. They didn't go down the certified organic route because of cost. When she's been in the market, one of her cabbages costs 50p, the organic bloke on the next stall charges 2.50!

If your 'target market' is local, promoting your brand in the same way as my neighbour, I think you'd get a reputation for having 'good stuff' anyway, and save the to grow your business another way!

Kate
Dumnonian

I believe that most consumers are more interested in their food being ethically produced rather than organic. We looked into the certification and it was the same whether you have 5 acres or 500 acres - bloody expensive.

I would advise marketig on the basis of ethics, rather than a certificate.

Totally agree.

We need a system of Biodiversity Certification if anything.

The Soil Association's really gone downhill from what it was. It used to be a holistic approach for everyone to re-connect with the environment (see Peckham experiment, for example). Now all it is is a niche club for the chattering classes - in my humble opinion -

Not seen any mention of "organic status" on the WWOOF website. But they have had to climb on the insurance gravy train, and that might cost a bit, depending ...
Green Rosie

I sell a small amount of my veg in a good year to one regular customer and clients in the gite - it is virtually organically produced (certainly no chemicals applied) and I sell it as that - priced somewhere between the cheapest supermarket produce and the organic price. sean

My neighbours who sells veg from their smallholding in the summer calls their produce "Naturally Produced" She explains to her customers that they don't use any chemicals in the growing. They didn't go down the certified organic route because of cost. When she's been in the market, one of her cabbages costs 50p, the organic bloke on the next stall charges 2.50!

If your 'target market' is local, promoting your brand in the same way as my neighbour, I think you'd get a reputation for having 'good stuff' anyway, and save the to grow your business another way!

Kate

Does Mary-Jane have a second career as a discount cabbage salesperkin then? It would explain her need for that posh tunnel thing.
Katieowl



Does Mary-Jane have a second career as a discount cabbage salesperkin then? It would explain her need for that posh tunnel thing.

I do have OTHER neighbours you know Rolling Eyes this isn't hillbilly territory! Laughing

Kate
Mary-Jane



Does Mary-Jane have a second career as a discount cabbage salesperkin then? It would explain her need for that posh tunnel thing.

I do have OTHER neighbours you know Rolling Eyes this isn't hillbilly territory! Laughing

Kate

Oy - they're my neighbours too y'know! In fact I deliver boxes of their veg up to the uni each week in season.
Jamanda

Not sure whether you need to be certified to host wwoofers - you certainly don't for HelpX, which is similar and some DSers have hosted folk under that scheme.

I have a colleague who has Wwoofers and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have paid for certification. Will check next time I see her.
Yorkshire Lass

A cheaper alternative to organic registration.

Can anyone tell me more? Are there any restrictions on feeding (for pork products), worming, general care of the pigs, etc? Question
Cathryn



Does Mary-Jane have a second career as a discount cabbage salesperkin then? It would explain her need for that posh tunnel thing.

I do have OTHER neighbours you know Rolling Eyes this isn't hillbilly territory! Laughing

Kate

Oy - they're my neighbours too y'know! In fact I deliver boxes of their veg up to the uni each week in season.

Do you? How much do you grow Katie? Would there be enough for me to collect an occasional box? I cannot see me growing much this year except possibly tomatoes.
Katieowl

It's not me or MJ! It's a third neighbour!!! She sells from the gate, and also delivers quite locally (in the cardigan area).

You're 'up the other end' aren't you?

Kate
Mary-Jane

Would there be enough for me to collect an occasional box? I cannot see me growing much this year except possibly tomatoes.

Can't see it being a problem. I can add you to the round-robin email that I send out each week.
Rob R

A cheaper alternative to organic registration.

Can anyone tell me more? Are there any restrictions on feeding (for pork products), worming, general care of the pigs, etc? Question

It's an open gate pledge, basically the only restriction is that you are honest. If you are worming every five minutes and feeding soya you'll get a bad reputation, but you won't be shot.
Nick

http://www.wholesome-food.org/join-here/rules-and-regulations/

Yeah, it seems very woolly, relying on transparency and trust. Not especially a bad thing.
Mrs R

I don't think it does rely on trust, it relies on the customer satisfying themselves, rather than contracting the job out to another body, who may not care about the same things as them, or have the same standards. It means that this producer is happy to show you their production methods, and discuss it with you - then you can look at what you care about in particular for yourself, and even ask them to change things if you wanted! Nick

Quote:
In these cases, we expect producers to declare their sources and types of feed on their pledge and to ensure that all feed is free from GMOs and antibiotics.


That's trust, unless someone's auditing it, checking records, ensuring that's all that fed etc etc.
Rob R

We've just had an audit, customers are welcome to do their own though. Jamanda

I spoke to my friend who has Wwoofers today and as I suspected she doesn't have organic certification. She said they come round and talk to you and make sure that you are farming in a reasonably ecologically friendly way, but that you don't need a piece of paper. earthsoul

It just gets better....I am so hopeful for the future. Cathryn

Would there be enough for me to collect an occasional box? I cannot see me growing much this year except possibly tomatoes.

Can't see it being a problem. I can add you to the round-robin email that I send out each week.

Great, thank you. I must keep an eye out for peoplegrowing like that around here. We get sacks of carrots, potatoes and swedes. I am sick of carrots and swedes and they smell horrible if they go off. Smile
earthsoul

I would be interested for sure...... Nick

Would there be enough for me to collect an occasional box? I cannot see me growing much this year except possibly tomatoes.

Can't see it being a problem. I can add you to the round-robin email that I send out each week.

Great, thank you. I must keep an eye out for peoplegrowing like that around here. We get sacks of carrots, potatoes and swedes. I am sick of carrots and swedes and they smell horrible if they go off. Smile

You should get pigs.
Cathryn

Good plan, so we are, kind of. Neighbours and friends will be having some and we will add one for ourselves. Bodger

As I understand it, the word organic is something that The Soil Association control lock stock and barrel. Was there a word organic before they collared it, or was it their original creation?
Whenever I've got an hour to kill, like right now, I often put myself to thinking of another word that might portray a similar ethos when it comes to food production. Needless to say, I'm still giving it some thought. Embarassed
Am I correct in also thinking that the word free range has been knobbled by the same bunch ?
gil

Am I correct in also thinking that the word free range has been knobbled by the same bunch ?

No.

Is it DEFRA that regulates what can be called free-range ? (stocking densities / outdoor access etc)
Rob R

There are other organic certification bodies, other than SA, too.

It may be the US that you're thinking of where, iirc, the government 'own' the word organic.
darkbrowneggs

As I understand it, the word organic is something that The Soil Association control lock stock and barrel. Was there a word organic before they collared it, or was it their original creation?
Whenever I've got an hour to kill, like right now, I often put myself to thinking of another word that might portray a similar ethos when it comes to food production. Needless to say, I'm still giving it some thought. Embarassed
Am I correct in also thinking that the word free range has been knobbled by the same bunch ?

As far as I understood it the word organic was set up for marketing purposes - previously it meant something like

relating or belonging to the class of chemical compounds having a carbon basis; "hydrocarbons are organic compounds"
being or relating to or derived from or having properties characteristic of living organisms; "organic life"; "organic growth"; "organic remains found in rock"
involving or affecting physiology or bodily organs; "an organic disease"

From somewhere deep in my memory they registered the word regarding food produce (I could be wrong on this - so feel free to correct me)

You pay to register and it is basically a commercial enterprise - though probably originally with good intentions.

When I first started keeping sheep I went on a 6 week course - and decided I wasn't interested as the sheep I produced were to a far higher standard

All the best
Sue
bagpuss

The weirdest use of the word organic as a marketting term is organic salt as sodium chloride is an inorganic compound Nicky Colour it green

the worst part of the word 'organic' is that people think it means 'chemical free' and it doesn't at all - the SA can give permission to use treatments etc.

I think its a good commercial move if you produce is likely to appear in large supermarkets - otherwise you are probably selling to people who think outside the box.. er i mean supermarket,

for me, when I'm choosing food, theres a 'chemical free' factor in there, but also animal welfare, food miles, eco footprint etc etc
Rob R

And even chemical free is ambiguous - given all the natural chemicals there are... Bodger

'Non Soil Association Organic' is a bit of a mouthful Very Happy Rob R

'Non Soil Association Organic' is a bit of a mouthful Very Happy

'Non Organic Food Federation, Scottish Organic Producers Association, Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd, Ascisco Ltd, Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd, Organic Trust Limited, Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, Biodynamic Agricultural Association nor Soil Association Certification Ltd Organic' is even more of a mouthful... Laughing
shadiya

I am a wwoof host and you don't have to be certified to be one.

It isn't really fair to blame the Soil Association for the way the word organic has been commodified, that'd be the EU. I am no longer certified as the cost is high but to be fair, that's any of the certification bodies, OF & G and the rest. It costs money to send people round the country inspecting people and they know it's a problem for small producers but they can't seem to find a way round it, primarily because the word is now a legal definition and so certain standards have to be adhered to. I have spent enough timne badgering them about it, as have many other small producers but they do have costs and someone has to pay them. The government make the rules and they have to enforce them.... To the best of my knowledge, which isn't up to date as I gave up my licence last January, they don't make a profit on certification fees.

Although there is no doubt that they have jumped into bed with the supermarkets, much to the disgust of many of us small producers, it has to be admitted that they have succeeded in raising the profile of organic food production in a way that would have been unthinkable 15years ago so I think it's worth remembering that. They are a charity, doing their best to spread the word and personally I think they've done a bloody good job, even if it's not a way I myself would personally have chosen. As for their members being middle class, not only is it a sweeping generalisation but even if it is predominantly true, so what? Why do we have to apologise for being middle class? Try saying they mostly have darkies as members and then maybe you might realise that until we stop judging people by things that they can't help, ie birth, the world will never be a better place....

As far as I can see, the only really lasting problem with being middle class is an overwhelming urge to tell people not to have their elbows on the table during meals Embarassed but I tell myself that is fairly harmless and I only think it - honest! Laughing
dan1

I don't think there's anything wrong with being middle class. I certainly am.
I do think a food movement that's only achieved impact within the middle class who were the healthiest + most well nourished to begin with must be flawed, however. "Organic" food has become something aspirational and expensive. The rules about its' provenance seem arbitrary and unscientiific and it makes dubious claims about superior taste/nutritional value.
I get fed up as a GP seeing poorer mums being guilt-tripped into buying expensive jars of organic baby food when they could make cheaper healthier food with fresh local produce organic or otherwise. I've seen organic mange-touts flown in from Kenya in the supermarket in the middle of pea season! It all seems a bit dodgy.
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