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munity building, finding ways for all organic farmers to form supportive networks and continue sharing their knowledge and learning from each other. Peer pressure is very powerful too, and so in some way this is a move back to the good old days where farmers inspected each other. None of us have “arrived”, there is always something new to learn, and we need to foster opportunities for lifelong learning.

Even though we have heard some thoughtfully voiced objections to farmer accreditation, the vast majority of feedback has been highly supportive of the idea. Many new urban farmers are already asking where they can sign up!

Heide Hermary has spent the last decade develop- ing and teaching organic horticulture curriculum for Gaia College. As co-founder of SOUL she was instrumental in the development of the Organic Land Care Standard and SOUL’s certification program for organic land care professionals.

Rochelle Eisen is a standards junkie who has been working in organics for over 20 years as well as with other certification systems. Like Einstein, she believes “What is right is not always popular and what is pop- ular is not always right” and that assurance programs are a means to level the ecological playing field.

Excerpts from the Draft Organic Lawn Care Standard, 6th edition: Food Production

Environmental Toxins Required:

• Verifying the non-commercial and/or non-toxic his- toric use of the site.

• Where the non-commercial and/or non-toxic historic use of the site cannot be verified, and where testing for soil toxins is not feasible, installing food gardens in raised beds in uncontaminated soil with a root barrier preventing root access to the soil below.

• Protecting crops with row covers from airborne tox- ins in industrial fallout areas, along major streets, and from pesticide use on neighbouring properties.

• Using potable water and ice when it comes in contact with food and food sources during post-harvest han- dling.


• Growing food plants in soil with heavy metal back- ground levels (ppm) greater than the following agri- culture numbers extracted from the Canadian Envi- ronmental Quality Guidelines (Arsenic 12, Chromium 64, Copper 63, Lead 70, Nickel 50, Zinc 200).

• Using polluted water collected from streets, driveways and other surfaces, including the first flush of rainwa- ter collected from roofs.

Crop Nutrient Management Required:

• For commercial food production in residential and ur-

• In rural agricultural settings, adhering to the Canadian Organic Standards in the use of manure.


• Using crop rotations and green manures in addition to other inputs.


Using fertilizers and soil amendments in a way that leads to contamination of crops, soil or water, by plant nutri- ents, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals or residues of other prohibited substances.

Livestock Required:

In urban settings ensure livestock systems do not at- tract or harbour rodents.

Specialty Crops For all aspects of apiculture, maple, mushroom, green- house and wild crop management the Canadian Organic Standards shall be followed.

The entire draft standard can be found online at: 6Ed

-20131119.pdf BC Organic Grower, Volume 17, Number 1, Winter 2014 Page 15

ban agricultural settings, thoroughly composting all manure according to the compost requirements in the Canadian Organic Standards.

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