What's Organic about 'Organic'?

We just had a Local Food Roadshow here in Gainesville and there was a little film series at the Hippodrome associated with it.  I went this past Wednesday to see two films that were being re-screened because they sold out on the days they were first screened.  Go Gainesville!  How many places will sell out at screenings of local, sustainable, organic food documentaries?  We have a great community here :)

One of the films was "What's Organic about 'Organic'?"  and it outlines a good deal of information about what the USDA organic symbol really represents.  The filmmaker and one of the farmers featured in the film who is from Florida were at the screening and held a Q&A session after the film.  I have to say that I learned more new information from the Q&A than from the film itself, but I still think that the film is definitely educational and worth watching.

For example, I didn't realize that the Organic stamp not only prohibits chemical fertilizers and the like, but also represents non-GMO items and mandates sustainable practices.  The regulations are slowly becoming more detailed, and the newest change is that livestock must spend a minimum of four months of the year on pasture.

The farmers at the screening (there was one interviewed in the film and one who wrote the initial organic regulations for the State of Florida before it was taken to the federal level) really communicated how stringent the regulations are and are proud of what the USDA Organic board has accomplished so far.  Of course, there is always room for improvement, but to hear from farmers who have been farming in a sustainable, natural way for decades and decades that they are proud of the USDA seal really drove home how much that little circle symbolizes.

I highly recommend this film and encourage you to do your research about what the seal really represents.

Eat happy!

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