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Local VA. Farmers vs. The State


zoramargolis
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I was curious why there was no mention of Bev Eggleston's nearby Eco-Friendly processing plant, which was started at the behest of Joel Salatin, so that small farmers could have their animals processed in an inspected facility. I asked Bev about it this morning at the Dupont Market. He hadn't seen the article, but knows the guy in question quite well. Bev said that he had offered to work with the guy several times, but was rebuffed. He said that he felt the guy deserved to get into trouble, and also that many of the Charlottesville-area farmers feel that his behavior is giving them all a bad name.

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I was curious why there was no mention of Bev Eggleston's nearby Eco-Friendly processing plant, which was started at the behest of Joel Salatin, so that small farmers could have their animals processed in an inspected facility. I asked Bev about it this morning at the Dupont Market. He hadn't seen the article, but knows the guy in question quite well. Bev said that he had offered to work with the guy several times, but was rebuffed. He said that he felt the guy deserved to get into trouble, and also that many of the Charlottesville-area farmers feel that his behavior is giving them all a bad name.

I just read the article (thanks for the link, Zora) and had the same misgivings. I am all for local producers who care about chemicals and hormones etc. However, if the guy in the article thinks anyone is going to believe that he didn't know he shouldn't have labeled his pork certified organic when it wasn't seriously think's the rest of us are kinda slow. Of course he should have discarded the labels!

The law is the law and if and until it changes, it applies to all. You do take your chances buying from uncertified producers who are dancing around the spirit of the law and same for the producers. There's risk on both sides.

How DO I know what his qualifications are for slaughtering pigs ("I did it myself because I know how") and how am I assured he processes his product in accordance with practices which strive to get an uncontaminated product to market (because he sells face to face?). Should I drive 2-3 hours to inspect places myself, or should there be a board of qualified people who are skilled and educated in that area do it? I mean, I don't carry around swabs get cultures to send to a lab.

See, I don't think that the government and it's inspectors are villains. Although clearly there needs to be a process by which it is easier to get fresh farm products. But not at the expense of safety and with full disclosure of the inherent risks associated. And, if the government lays off of the local farmer, how do they police their own community from having some uncaring farmer align him/herself with the ranks of the ones who are truly dedicated? Apparently the farmers at his market were not too happy about him, yet he still sold. Should there be a formal process of weeding him and his like from thier ranks? Is there one?

These question and thoughts arise from the gentleman in the article specifically, not the folks at our markets ie: Cibola etc.

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I read the article and feel that there is no way this guy could not have known about labeling rules and regs. And more importantly, how do I know that he is butchering his stock properly, handling it in accordance with local and federal health regulations. As a Chef I would not want to risk buying and selling meat not processed in a approved facility. The risk is too great.

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I just read the article (thanks for the link, Zora) and had the same misgivings. I am all for local producers who care about chemicals and hormones etc. However, if the guy in the article thinks anyone is going to believe that he didn't know he shouldn't have labeled his pork certified organic when it wasn't seriously think's the rest of us are kinda slow. Of course he should have discarded the labels!
This is exactly the nightmare small organic farmers have been predicting for many years.

His food is organically raised according to any legitimate principle that is based on actual principles (not intended to be a tautology) but the government won't certify it because he can't afford to jump through all the hoops that gigantic agri-conglomerates can easily afford.

I am going to stick with what is, not with what appears to be. If he doesn't meet the criteria for the federal certificate, well, screw the federal certificate.

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And more importantly, how do I know that he is butchering his stock properly, handling it in accordance with local and federal health regulations.
Turn off your computer, put on your shoes, walk out the door, and meet these guys face to face. Shake their hands. Kick the tires.

If you think a certificate from the government means they actually did what they were supposed to do, God bless you, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like you to take a look at.

What a government certificate actually gives you is plausible deniability, which is not the same thing as trust. Not at all.

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This is exactly the nightmare small organic farmers have been predicting for many years.

His food is organically raised according to any legitimate principle that is based on actual principles (not intended to be a tautology) but the government won't certify it because he can't afford to jump through all the hoops that gigantic agri-conglomerates can easily afford.

I am going to stick with what is, not with what appears to be. If he doesn't meet the criteria for the federal certificate, well, screw the federal certificate.

The organic farmers who are truly ethical will inform you if they utilize organic principles but are not certified--for whatever reason, be it that their land has not been farmed organically long enough, or that they do not choose to seek and pay for the certification. They do not label their products "Certified Organic" if they are not. According to Bev Eggleston, this guy is out to make trouble and get publicity. I believe that the organic certification comes from a private organization, not the feds. It is the slaughtering and processing of meat animals that is supervised by the government. Bev went through hell and jumped through a million ridiculous hoops in order to open a processing plant that could have the needed certification, just so that small farmers wouldn't have to take their animals to huge, factory-like facilities in order to have "legal meat" to sell. I, frankly, wouldn't trust a guy who says that his stuff is "Certified Organic" when it is not. Why should I trust that he is not dissembling about pesticide use, or the health of the animals he is slaughtering or that he is using basic rational, hygienic practices?

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I think the most damning indictment of this guy is what his peers think of him; just because he's "fighting the system" doesn't mean he's automatically doing things in a more pure or holistic manner.

Besides, if he's willing to lie about his organic certification, what else is he willing to lie about because he doesn't think it's important? Hormone or antibiotic use? Accidentally piercing the gut while he's slaughtering, then selling the contaminated meat on anyway? It wasn't much contamination, surely a little bit of poo on the meat won't hurt anyone if he washes it off and doesn't tell them about it. After all, he knows what he's doing.

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