Shit Happens

Shit happens. Yes. Yes it does.

And when it does it will likely shake your confidence and betray your trust.

In the previous post we discussed trusting the certified organics industry in Canada requiring a leap of faith and that shit can happen.

For example, its like knowing you were doing your part to save dear Mother Earth. You’ve been voting with your wallet, tirelessly refusing to add a single penny into the coffers of some world raping, duplicitous, multinational, commodity-pushing conglomerate of all things poopie.

You’ve been doing the right thing all along.

And then? Well then you discover all along you’ve been duped.


Its the moment you realize Häagen Dazs is actually owned by Pepsico.


“Mommy, how come the mean man makes Huggin-Däys?”

Ben & Jerry?

Did you know Ben & Jerry sold out to Unilever? The same Unilever with annual revenues up there with Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, and Kraft Foods.

Shit-shit, double shit!

Same shit different day.

I digress.

So here is the shit, if you will on certified organics.

Participation in organics in Canada is voluntary. It requires anyone desirous of a certified organic designation to consent to COR (Canadian Organic Regime) as administered through their chosen CB (Certifying Body)

But honestly, organics is about land stewardship. Organics is about farming the soil not produce. Farm the soil well and awesome nutritious produce will follow.

Point being organics is more about sustainability. More about a lifestyle. More about custodianship than business.

Organics as an industry exists because consumers need a method to differentiate organics from conventional farming.

Personally, I maintain if organic operations must endure audits then conventional farmers must bear similar responsibility to third party oversight.

More so because as it stands right now a conventional operation can spray whatever shit poison they choose and have no obligation, moral or otherwise to disclose their spray records as do organic operations.

The system is not perfect. It is as strong as the weakest link in the chain. From an over hormonic stock boy to the under paid itinerant farm worker bent on sabotage; shit happens.

This is where you come in.

If you suspect a product listed as organic is disingenuous then please bring your concerns to the reseller, farmer, producer or whoever. Hold there feet to the fire and demand accountability.

Any organic operation will be prepared to provide the appropriate certificate for inspection. Indeed, most would also suggest a tour of their operation and offer up samples.



What the F- -k is Organic Anyway?

Glad you asked.

On one hand I’m a tad confused.

On the other hand the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) aka the your federal overseer of everything foodie including the organic industry in this country, defines organic thusly:

An organic product is an agricultural product that has been certified as organic. A product can be certified if it is produced using the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards.

There, simple.

Understand the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards and you understand organics.

Ya. Good luck with that.

Ever known an onion to have one layer? Of course not. It wouldn’t be an onion otherwise.

So what does organic really mean to you at the check-out counter? The reality requires a leap of faith. The Canadian organic industry, in all its infancy is asking for your trust.

Is your trust misplaced?

Maybe. More on that later.

The system isn’t perfect however, it would be virtually impossible for certified organic growers, producers, packers, and resellers to be disingenuous for a couple of reasons.

One: It is not in our best interest and two: why would an operation endure the headache and expense of the audit process unless they weren’t serious about organics?

But shit happens. More on that later too.

So you’ve made it this far. Might as well get comfortable. Have a sip.


COR (Canadian Organic Regime) the outer layer of the onion is the:

Government of Canada’s response to requests by the organic sector and consumers to develop a regulated system for organic agricultural products. The Organic Products Regulations define specific requirements for organic products to be labelled as organic or that bear the Canada Organic logo. All organic products bearing the Canada Organic logo

Canada Organic

Canada Organic

or represented as organic in interprovincial and international trade must comply with the Organic Products Regulations.

British Columbia Certified Organic

British Columbia Certified Organic

COR was been developed to:

  • Protect consumers against misleading or deceptive labelling practices;
  • Reduce consumer confusion about the definition of organic;
  • Facilitate the access of Canadian organic products to foreign markets that require regulatory oversight; and
  • Support further development of the domestic market.

These regulations which came into effect on June 30, 2009 are monitored and enforced by the CFIA through one of several CB’s (Certification Bodies) who are accredited and responsible for verifying the application of the Canadian Organic Standards.

For us on the ground this means we choose to belong to an appropriate CB who dispatches a VO (verification officer) who in turn performs an annual onsite audit to verify our compliance to COR. These VO’s are independent contractors and are in no way to be confused as an employee functioning on behalf of a Certifying Body.

So understanding CB’s.

Most CB’s are umbrellaed under provincial oversight. For example in BC we have the COABC (Certified Organic Association of BC) who:

is an umbrella association representing organic certifying [bodies] agencies in the province.

An ‘agricultural organization’ will choose to belong to a sympathetic CB with a mandate that best suits the certifying needs of that organizations.

Some CB’s are regional in scope which means they certify individual operations with local to provincial markets. Others like ours,  PACS  (Pacific Agricultural Certification Society) are ISO compliant which means they are  inter-provincial and international in scope as well as addressing local concerns.


Suffice it to say there are a shit load CB’s in this country and they are all mandated to adhere to the core values of COR.

Heh… see what I did there.

So this means the Canadian certified organic industry is administered by CBs who adhere to and interpret COR when granting annual organic certification based upon audits performed by an independent third party VO.

This rube is confident that by the time I get to the check out counter I am able to vote confidently with my wallet.

Trust me.







Prove Glyphosate is Safe

There is a yet another petition on and this one intrigues me. Similar to most petitions on ‘the worlds platform for change’ it is worded like a challenge: Health Canada: Prove glyphosate is safe.

Surprised that didn’t finish with two or three exclamation marks.

Obligatory Spray Shot

Obligatory Spray Shot

Anyway, to quote Tony Mitra, the author of the petition:

“…Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp and many other herbicides, and is the most used biocide in Canadian agriculture. Its safety has never been proven to the Canadian people… if [the government] has not sighted the safety test results, then it should cancel approval of Glyphosate, and ask the producer to provide this test results for scrutiny, and then disclose these results to the public, so these can be verified independently…”

The point being to prove via recognized scientific control standards that any input wether organic or not, is proven to be safe for human consumption.

All this time you and I along with most Canadians have been consuming produce that is, unless identified as certified organic, treated with glyphosate and collectively we have no idea what the long term effects are.

Are you f–king kidding me?

“Hey kid… have some candy”

Have Some Candy

Have Some Candy

As certified organic farmers we accept we must prepare for an annual audit where a section of that audit requires us to provide documentation of all inputs. As arduous as an C/O audit may be at the end of it there will exist a document that details our land stewardship, crop sustainability, and farming practices. Something which is not required of a conventional farmer.

A conventional farmer can, not that they do mind you… and hey look over there…candy, spray whatever shit they want in any amount they want for how ever long they want without being accountable to anyone. There is no mandatory  third party over sight for a conventional farmer.

So until that changes, yes Canada through our Minister of Health must protect Canadians with proof on the safety of glyphosate because the conventional farming industry won’t.

Consider this petition. Thanks! *off soapbox*

Right. Time to plant.

So you have selected your garlic seed. Good for you. Time to plant.

For a primer read the previous post on seed selection. Or not.

Its up to you.

Don’t care. I’m in a mood.

We are at the end of a hot and especially dry season. And right now, right at the moment I complete cracking 4000 pounds of garlic bulbs and separate them into little cloves that will forever haunt my dreams I am obliged to acknowledge my sore wrists, my garlic-chaff filled lungs and the fact that autumn has arrived in earnest.

I am not ready for autumn.

I’m still coping with the faint memory of last spring slipping into this summer which is now gone. No more.

Don’t care.

Right. Time to plant.

Regardless of the amount of garlic to be planted it is best, especially in moist and temperate climates, to plant garlic in a purpose built raised bed. On a larger scale a raised-bed former is used.

Hippy Disc 1

Hippy Inspired Raised Bed Former

Hippy Disc 2

Hippy Inspired Raised Bed Former the Latter

We employ a hippy-inspired, home-made, spot-welded, disc-thingy-bed-former that attaches somewhat securely to our #HangInThereI-Think-I-CanGuardProtectorRemovedRotovator. #WorkSafe.

Ultimately your desire a loamy and uniform raised bed to accept seed.

We use a six inch spacing. In a bed three feet wide we plant six across and advance by six inches.

Six Inch Spacing

Six Inch Spacing

Plant to a depth where the top of the clove is two to four inches beneath the surface of the soil. Plant too shallow and you run the risk frost will heave the clove out of the winter ground. Mulching with straw will help prevent this from happening.

When planting by hand, as we do, it is difficult to plant too deep and four inches is an easy depth to achieve. This should result in a nice size bulb that is also easy to extract come harvest time.


Prairie Boy meets farmersdotter

So the other day we had a farm visit from Lainie from Prairie Boy Bread in Toronto. We are kindred spirits. They bake bread; we bake bread. They farm; we farm. They don’t have Garlic Scape Salt; we do.

So we hooked up and now farmersdotter Original Garlic Scape Salt, thanks to Lainie and Grant, is available for the first time for the nice folks in the greater Toronto area.

Prairie Boy Bread

Prairie Boy Bread

Pop by their place 221 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto Ontario. Like them on Facebook too!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: