The ‘organic’ label has always been seen as the gold standard for organically produced of farmed products.
The term organic is defined by law, therefore all organic food production and processing is governed by a strict set of rules. Any organic product sold in the UK must under this law display a certification symbol or number. When you see a symbol or number you can be sure that the product complies with the minimum government standards as set by UKROFS (UK Register of Organic Food Standards).
Anyone involved in the production of organic products must be registered with one of the certification bodies. All of these bodies have been approved and are constantly monitored by UKROFS.
There is alot of red tape to get through before you can have the organic label. It is comforting to know that if you see the organic label you know that they have had to adhere to strict guidelines. However the money side of the label and the complicated procedure often lasting years is putting off the local producers and small scale growers. This is why I often talk about local produce rather than organic produce as many of the local sources just don’t have or can’t afford the label.
I grow veg without chemicals in soil that has not been sprayed before, I use permaculture principals to raise grow and harvest my veg so is not my veg organic? I’ve not filled in forms or paid my yearly subscription but I adhere to it’s principals rather than it’s rules. If I wanted to sell veg at my local farmers market it would be illegal for me to say that it was organically produced, even though it was.
There is also the fact that many people who farm and grow by permaculture methods and principals do not have the money to gain the certification as ‘organic’ even though their commitment to the land is probably greater than many organic farmers.
What we need is an unofficial label thats for the small scale grower or producer, something that shows that persons commitment to ethical practice and organic methods. I think it would be a great idea to have a permaculture label which would show that this person or this piece of land is farmed with a
commitment to not use chemicals, to treat the environment with respect and put locallity and community at the heart of their practice.
It would also be a great way to promote permaculture principals, which is still struggling to get main stream coverage. In the UK you can join the Permaculture association but I often feel that this goes no further than simply supporting permaculture principals. Thats not to say that it is not a great organisation. I was thinking more of a guild.