Some people say that local food is more important than organic food. We say BOTH are equally important. Though we posted a quick announcement on Instagram when it happened, today Nathaniel has finally made the time to officially share our news.
You know you are busy and staggeringly understaffed when your business experiences a monumental change and you fail to report on it until more than two weeks after the fact!
On October 10th Shadowood Farm officially became Certified Organic as part of the USDA National Organic Program. This recognition is about more than our ability as a farm to feed people food of an infinitely higher nutritional value and an infinitely lower presence of carcinogenic substances. The cornerstone of organic certification is the recognition that the environment is a finite resource and that farms should play the highest cultural role in fortifying it against the degradations of human influence. A critical component of such environmental preservation is adequate funding, and the economic incentives conferred on Certified produce are, in principal, not intended for the enrichment of the farmer's pocketbook; rather, they are intended to compensate the land for our right to eat. The entire reason for the National Organic Program to exist is to help usher in a heightened level of ecological function in terms of land's use of soil, water, and light in all their complexity. These are obligations innate to the vocation of farming and rural land management which industrial agriculture inherently refuses to acknowledge.
Like many small farms, we had been content for years to operate as "growing using organic practices," knowing full well, based on ample research, that we were well-positioned to achieve certification if we someday chose to seek it. It became clear to us, however, that too many growers were content to mislead consumers about the nature of their operations, capitalizing on a supreme lack of understanding regarding the regulatory process of the National Organic Program and eroding the already tenuous influence of one of the last truly promising programs of our national Department of Agriculture.
If we were to distill the essence of our entire multi-year preparation for certification, at the prodding and guidance of the law, we would do so simply: "How are you being a steward of the environment? Now go beyond." We look forward to representing the National Organic Program to the highest of standards and appreciate the involvement of our community in helping us all realize a better future for our children.