Friday, November 30, 2007

Say goodbye to leafy greens at the Farmer's Market!

If you like your to shop for fruits and veggies at your local farmer's market, you'll want to have a look at this:
The USDA is accepting public comments until December 3 on a new proposed rule that would force small farms growing green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce, to put into place industrial-style sterilization measures that reduce biodiversity and soil fertility. The proposal follows in the wake of the USDA's recent controversial crackdown on raw almonds,continued interference with raw milk production, and bans on the sale of locally produced organic meat directly to consumers. The proposed rules basically cover up the fact that e-coli 0157H contamination in lettuce and spinach crops comes from feedlot or industrial ivestock-contaminated irrigation waters or contamination in large processing plants. The rule limits hedgerows, and other non-crop vegetation commonly found on and around small organic and sustainable farms. In addition, although every organic farmer knows that healthy soil is literally alive with multiple types of healthy bacteria, the rules also discourage the development of beneficial microbial life in the soil. Send a message to the USDA today:
Learn more and take action:
As a small farmer using organic practices, I can tell you right now that my partner and I can't afford to sterilize an entire field and that sterilizing the soil is not a practice you'd want to follow for developing healthy soil (We're also no where near a feedlot - the source of the e-coli.). Healthy soil has lots of beneficial microbial life in it that helps plants to grow better. Compost, which we use a lot of, is filled with beneficial microbes. So if you care about small farmers, organic practices, healthy soil, supporting your local farmer's market and/or leafy green vegetables, please comment during the open comment period and tell the USDA how you feel.

My fellow farmers and I thank you.

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