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[lofo List] Fw: Group Of Montana Organic Farmers Creates “Homegrown” Label
This from Paula Hjertas regarding a locally produced food project in
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Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 6:47 PM
Subject: Group Of Montana Organic Farmers Creates “Homegrown” Label
*Group Of Montana Organic Farmers Creates “Homegrown” Label*
*(/Beyond Pesticides/, May 4, 2006)* The Western Montana Sustainable
Growers Union, a new group that is made up of 12 organic farms near
Missoula, Montana, will offer an alternative to the USDA organic
certification. The alternative label – Homegrown – will indicate that
the food being sold has been grown using sustainable agricultural and
labor practices on farms that are within a 150 mile radius. The
Homegrown label looks to go beyond the USDA Organic label regulating not
just how the food is grown, but also where and using what labor practices.
The push for the Homegrown label has come as a reaction to the
corporatization of organic farming. The farmers who came up with the
idea of the new label feel that corporate organics have lost touch with
the roots of the organic movement, which they believe has at it’s core
community and local sustainability. “Our organization feels like organic
certification makes a lot of sense for growers who live at a distance
from their customers. For those growers the only way customers can be
assured that their food was grown the way it was supposed to be grown is
to have an impartial third party do inspections. But when the grower and
the customer are close together, there can be a trusting relationship.
The customer can look the farmer in the eye and ask how the produce was
grown,” said Josh Slotnick, the head of Garden City Harvest
<http://www.gardencityharvest.org/>, a Missoula community gardening
program, and one of the organizers of the Growers Union. "We're a part
of Missoula and all of our behavior will reflect our loyalty, and our
desire to see Missoula become a better place."
Selling food locally not only supports the ideology behind the organic
movement, but it also has a significantly lower environmental impact
than non-local marketing. Of food grown within the U.S., the average
piece of produce travels 1,500 miles from the farm to the supermarket.
In Montana, for example, about 90% of the produce bought is grown out of
state. Transporting food from one state to another, not to mention
importing it from other countries, uses an incredibly high amount of
energy and fuel. It also does nothing to boost local economies.
To educate the public and promote their label, the Growers Union plans
to provide brochures and displays alongside its produce to inform
consumers about the new label and where their food comes from.
Additionally, they plan to hold open farm days where people can actually
visit the farms and see how their food is grown and how the farm is run.
/*TAKE ACTION:*/ /Find and support local organic producers in your area.
Use Local Harvest's <http://www.localharvest.org/> website as a reource
for finding local organic growers. /
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