Where the hell has integrity gone in this country? The other day I was in a popular Health Food Store in Naples, Fl, and was shopping for some items when I happened to speak with one of the senior employees and managers of one of the departments. In our discussion he pointed out that he could no longer carry a local farmers product because it wasn't "Certified Organic". He admitted that he knew that the farmer grew his product completely organic with no pesticides and chemical fertilizers at all, and on pure organic soil that had never been used for anything at all.
His explanation was this: that if it wasn't deemed "Organic" by a third party, that it wouldn't be fair to those that had "Paid" to have their product certified. This kind of thinking didn't seem to make sense.
I started thinking about all this, and it seemed to create a very perplexing situation.
In my mind, I made up what I thought was a very simple scenario. You take two farmers and they both start out with the same organic soil. They then proceed to both grow the same product in exactly the same way. One farmer has the "$$money$$" to have a expert (so-called) come in and look over all the growing procedures and factors that make growing his product organically acceptable. He gets the O.K. and then gets to use the label "Certified Organically" on his products.
The other farmer can't afford to have anyone come in, inspect his growing procedures and give him the go ahead to use the word " Organic" on his products. Under these conditions, he then gets told by certain stores that they can't sell his product because his products are not deemed organic.
This comes down to some very serious consequences for this farmer, other small farmers, and us all. These farmers are being squeezed out of the marketplace and it becomes very difficult to offer their goods to us, the public. It begins to be the same old story: If you've got the money, you can play the game. If you can't pay, you can't play.
We look to certain Authorities and Organizations to lead and guide us, however, Big Money$$ has used it's influence to and help create the direction many of these leaders.
Stores like this Health Food Store I described earlier, are trying to do the right thing. The problem is they don't no what "the right thing is" and they have bought into a system that can be deceptive and essentially self defeating. They are inadvertently helping to destroy any real chance that the little guys, the farmers, will be able to support themselves and provide us with wholesome and nutritious food.
These small stores are allowing these so called "authorities" to tell them what is best and safe for the consumers. It is these same authorities that are once again helping to eliminate the small entrepreneur farmer. The consequences are that we all are left at the mercy of the "big guns" and big producers and what they tell us is good and safe.
We are all beginning to see the results of following the path these authorities and industry and political leaders have created for us and our children.
Addiction to sugars, a glut of over processed foods (with little or no nutritional value) genetically modified foods, etc. We are seeing the effects of what all this has on our families. The physical condition of our citizens is alarming. Poor health, lethargic and obese families and there children. An ever expanding market full of junk foods, that have been deemed "Safe and Healthy".
Can we really trust these authorities to determine what is best for us and what is real about the products. Everyone knows "Money talks". Money is once again talking and too many small stores and companies, in their effort to be relevant and stay competitive, are buying into the very system of thinking that will make them obsolete and out of business.
If you have the money to be "Certified", you can play the game. If you have the money to pay to have your product placed on the shelf in the most advantageous position, you can play the game better. If you can Pay, you can Play.
Is there another way out of this weird situation we are all in? I think so.
We all need to nurture and develop a sense of personal integrity in all we say and due. If we each had this, we could trust each other in their dealings and their products.
We need to say exactly what is in our food products and what isn't.