Monday, February 15, 2010

Family Farmers Win A Big Battle

After 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the country are breathing a sigh of relief. The unfair competition is over from large dairy factory farms who sell to big box stores and have been able to be labeled "certified organic" even though their growing practices are unhealthy and inhumane.
By tightening organic standards, the USDA effectively ruled out dairies that don't give their animals a chance to see the light of day. New requirements say that dairy cows and other ruminants must be allowed to exhibit their native behavior and consume a meaningful amount of their feed from grazing on pastures-specifically the new rules require that dairy animals be out on pasture for the entire growing season, and not less than 120 days.
Based on The Cornucopia Institute's research 90% of all namebrand dairy products are produced with high integrity. These tighter laws will eliminate unfair competition from factory farms who have slid in under the bar.
We at Sappington Farmers Market have always supported small producers who raise their animals humanely and show integrity in their branding. In fact, that describes our owners who raise livestock.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spring is just around the corner

Despite evidence to the contrary, spring really is just around the corner.
I just got back from the Missouri Organic Convention and am fired up and ready to plant. So what's that snow doing on the ground?
Actually, I already have some seedlings in my kitchen window. The reflection from the snow is making them grow better. And the snow on the ground will add minerals to the soil as it melts. But I'm still anxious to get growing for spring. Guess I'll have to while away the snowy hours planning and re-planning my garden while I peruse seed catalogs.
I learned a lot about soil fertility, cover cropping and extending my season with high tunnels at the MOA convention. Can't wait to share with some of our farmer/producers so we'll have more local produce at the store even earlier and it will be even more nutritious because of the better soil in which it will be grown.
And speaking of the store, we have a new manager who managed Wild Oats for years. He brings great energy, knowledge and a passion for organics to the store. Stop in and see the changes he is bringing about.