The NY Times reports more problems with organic certification from China (surprise, surprise), this time a case of conflict of interest by the Organic Crop Improvement Association, which used employees of a Chinese government agency to inspect state controlled farms.
As demand for organic food rises, and supplies become more questionable (China, the Bush administration, corrupt corporations, farmers who just lie to get higher prices), the answer is in our own backyards. My organic seeds come from reputable organic companies like Seeds of Change and Johnny's. My soil has never been treated with fumigants (not since I've been living here anyway) or herbicides. My fertilizer is manure from organically fed horses and cows. My plants are never sprayed with synthetic pesticides. In short, my produce is certified organic by the best inspector of all: me.
Home gardening has been growing in popularity very quickly in the last few years. Demand for gardening products is way up. Seed stores often have trouble keeping seeds in stock. People just don't trust the corporate dominated system to deliver organic food, so they're doing it themselves.
A great side effect of this phenomenon (there's even an organic garden at the White House now) is the savings in fuel used to grow and transport food, savings in petroleum used to create pesticides, savings in greenhouse gas emissions from all of the above activity, reduction of emissions by composting instead of throwing food waste in landfills, and a whole host of other beneficial aspects to organic gardening.
Now I have to go find a way to keep the chipmunks from digging up my cilantro seeds (which I grew myself last year). Seems they know organic when they eat it!
"Now serious questions about certification in China have been raised by the United States Agriculture Department. The agency, which uses private groups to conduct most organic inspections worldwide, has banned a leading American inspector from operating in China because of a conflict of interest that strikes at the heart of the organics’ guarantee. The federal agency also plans to send an audit team to China this year to broadly review the certification process."
- U.S. Drops Organic Food Inspector in China - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)