There was a recent story written about a farmer’s market whose products were taken from supermarket shelves and sold to the public. Sound incredulous? Perhaps, but given the likelihood this story is true, many people would pose this question: Is your local farmer’s market really selling organic food?
The only way to determine if your farmer’s market is selling organic food is to look for the USDA Organic Seal. Of course, those of you who have been consuming organic foods for some time have already developed a relationship with your local farmer’s market, and already know who has organic status and who does not.
There is a noticeable contradiction when it comes to organics. While the USDA has strict guidelines for farmers who wish to obtain organic status, the USDA also seems to ignore its tenets as it relates to larger corporations. Because the supply is not meeting the demand, there is a battle between companies who are increasing their production of processed foods versus the organic farmers who are working very hard to gain organic status (which, by the way, can take a year or more).
For those farmer’s markets who only sell organic products, the good news for them is they are now listed on the Organic Consumers Association website. This means that anyone who wants to be absolutely sure their local farmer’s market has organic status can easily make that determination.
Throughout the world, government regulations are kept in force to ensure that farmer’s markets are not only organic certified, but adhere to the stringent rules and regulations governing their status. For example, the NASAA monitors Australian organic farms; the JAS equally does so in Japan; and here in the US, the Organic Food Production Act requires the USDA to develop standards for organic products nationally.
Therefore, it is clear that the consumer is the best judge as to whether or not their local farmer’s market has organic status and meets the standards set forth by their respective government’s regulations.
Farmers are hard workers. The process of gaining organic status is a daunting challenge, and one that is not taken lightly. To suggest that farmer’s markets in general are somehow duping the public is ludicrous. There may be a few unscrupulous people trying to get away with this kind of action, but one can be assured they will not be in business for long.
Those who have chosen organics as a lifestyle are far more savvy when it comes to spotting imposters: both seller and product. For those that are new to organic living, as mentioned earlier there are plenty of websites that can help you discern where to purchase organic foods, locate certified organic farmer’s markets, and even shop online as well.