With the farm clean-up being close to finished for the year, it gave us time to think while we were pulling plastic row cover. To understand what we were doing, part of our clean up consist of mowing down the froze plants, pulling up all the plastic row cover and filling dumpsters. As I’ve always thought of myself as an environmentally friendly person, this practice is bothering my conscience. We are just a small farm. If all organic farms are using plastic row cover, I can’t imagine how many tons of plastic row cover is going to the landfill from Organic farms each year.
The USDA Organics programs allows for the use of plastic row cover as a method of weed control, but up until this year didn’t allow the use of biodegradable row cover. This doesn’t make sense to me and I’m having a problem saying it is okay to put down thousands of feet of plastic that is going to wind up in our landfills. I don’t feel we are doing the world justice being Organic farmers if we are going fill up the landfill with plastic just because the Organics program says it is okay.
I know consumers are conscious of how their food is grown and I’m now wondering if it matters to the consumer if their food is grown environmentally-friendly also. As a farmer, I feel it matters, this farm won’t be using plastic next year. At this time, we are looking into getting biodegradable row covering, which is newly approved by the USDA Organics program, and planting rows farther apart to mow the weeds between rows. Ultimately, we feel it is important for consumers to know their farmers and their practices, not just look for the Organic symbol.
- The farmer spends this month drooling over the seed catalogs while the kids go through toy catalogs. He writes a list of what he wants to grow and diagrams how and where to plant everything.
- Then we discuss what or if any changes need to be made for the next year’s growing and marketing season.
December 1, 2017 at 10:32 pm
As a consumer of your goods I do care about that. It makes me love you guys even more to know that these things weigh on your mind because it weighs on mine. Some states are taking the lead in banning certain plastics but I agree with you… it is hard for me to head to Natural Grocer to buy organic veggies and then throw it all in to the plastic bags they offer yet they do not let you carry your groceries out in bigger plastic. It seems our government is lagging in considering how we use plastics across the board.
It all feels very contradictory and I would support paying more for my food if I knew our process beginning to end completely removed single use plastics. Connecting with you this summer brought a whole new life to my relationship with food. It has made me want to visit the farm and do my best to source the food my family eats entirely from small local farms. It matters and more consumers should care. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.