Posted on October 1st, 2014 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Genetically Modified Organisms have become ubiquitous in American agriculture over the past decade. At least eighty percent, or more of all corn and soybeans grown in the US are now GMO. Many of these seed strains have genes inserted that make the crop tolerate herbicide application. The crops are touted by their makers as the answer to global hunger and starvation.

The producers of these seeds also manufacture the herbicides that these crops are engineered to tolerate while owning the seed companies that they are sold through. There has been so much consolidation in the seed industry that just four companies: Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto own or control the vast majority of the seed companies in the world. All indications are that these companies intend to control the world food supply. There is so much money involved that the USDA, FDA and politicians have been silenced.  Why is it that no anti-trust actions have been taken? It is disconcerting that these crops are approved on the fast track with little safety testing, despite significant public demand for closer scrutiny.

Claims of bumper yields have not been realized in the long term. In fact yields have declined recently as super weeds emerge that are resistant to glyphosate, (Roundup), leading to increased applications of the herbicide and the introduction of crops resistant to 2, 4 D, a much more potent herbicide. Remember “agent orange”?

The earliest clinical trials and more recent studies have shown GMO foods to cause health problems. Certainly, increased applications of herbicides cannot be a good thing for the environment. We already know how industrialized agriculture is affecting water quality: endocrine disruption in the Everglades and massive “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico. Native corn in the state of Oxaca, Mexico where corn originates from has shown the presence of trans-genes and the potential contamination of the entire corn genome. The chemical companies always claim their products are safe for you and the environment. How often has this proven not to be true? Remember DDT?

One of the biggest issues is that the companies that produce these organisms are not liable for the damage they may cause. Currently, if a farmer’s alfalfa unintentionally were to show the presence of trans-genes he could be sued by the producers of the genes for patent infringement. This scenario would be doubly damaging for certified GMO free and organic producers who would lose their ability to sell their crop as “organic” and GMO free. This is not only extremely unfair but it is un-American. The way the law is structured; there is no motivation for these companies to contain their Franken genes.

Fortunately, Colorado and other states have taken the first step in the fight against GMO foods by asking voters if they would like to know what is actually in the food they eat. Vote in November to LABEL GMO FOOD. Vote YES on 105!

The second step is to ban GMO crop production in Saguache County and eventually in the entire SLV. This would create a GMO Free Zone that is protected by geological formations from the intrusion of trans-genes. This step would provide protection for producers that wish to stay GMO free, (many countries ban the import of GMO commodities), as well as the significant number of organic producers in our valley. A GMO free zone could lead to a robust industry in GMO free seed production. Other producers, businesses and individuals that wish to locate in a “clean, protected” environment and among those who share their views on sustainability and environmental stewardship could bring economic growth to our area.

Join in a discussion of these issues Oct. 22 at 5:30 PM following the NSLVCR regular meeting at the Saguache County Road and Bridge headquarters. Do the GMO two-step!


Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Organic  |  No Comments »

There are new regulations being proposed by USDA APHIS concerning the ability of Bio-Tech crops and Organic or NON-GMO crops to “co-exist”. Post your own comment at Here is my comment:

GMO crops are inherently incompatible with Non-GMO and or Organically raised crops due to the possibility of contamination. As the law is now, a contaminated farmer would have a very difficult time receiving compensation for the lost market value and even perhaps the loss of Organic Certification for the crop or the acreage. Even worse, the owner of the GMO patent might sue the farmer for patent infringement. This system is unfair, unsustainable and un-American. I do not believe that this situation has not changed. From my perspective the huge Biotech companies have close to free range to ruin the genomes of basic food crops such as corn and soy, and are so powerful as to intimidate both the government and food producers into compliance with their wishes. This puts profit before people and real food safety. The USDA, EPA and FDA should be protecting us from these threats, not supporting fast track approval of one after the other of these very dangerous organisms.

If regulatory avenues are not working against these giants with the ability to lobby politicians into compliance with their wishes, then give the people the chance to decide with the food dollars they spend and LABEL GMO FOOD!

Sustainable Farming? Really?

Posted on February 14th, 2013 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Baxter Black, Cowboy poet and author of a weekly syndicated column recently wrote a column (week of Feb. 7th) claiming Biotech companies such as Monsanto, Dow, Pfizer etc. saved the world from starvation by creating chemical alternatives to crop production and GMO crops. I disagree and here is my response:

Dear Mr. Black,

I usually enjoy reading your weekly column but occasionally you change horses so to speak and attack environmentalists, animal rights groups and now “sustainable farming” and though not mentioned specifically, but by association, “organic agriculture”. While many of your articles put a righteous human face on those that are in the business of raising this nation’s food, and give much respect and credence to the personalities the animals we raise certainly have, these few out of character articles attack those who in my opinion most represent the values and ideals you champion in your column.

The farmers and ranchers you vilify want to raise healthy food, make a profit, respect the animals they raise, and do it in such a way as not to destroy the land, water and wildlife they love.  Farmers were once told to plow from fence row to fence row.  Grow the same crop in succession. Pour the chemicals to it. Yields down? They have a new chemical for it. Who profited from these practices?

Not farmers apparently. Farming is not one of those valued and respected professions. The number of farmers continues to decrease as consolidation in the industry increases. The average age of a farmer is in the late 50’s. A cubicle looks pretty good to a young person compared to the rigors of farming vs. the returns.

Not the environment. Toxic chemicals continue to contaminate watersheds and aquifers, especially in agricultural areas. Cancer rates are shy high among agricultural workers.  Species of wildlife are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Fisheries are dying off.  Weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides; bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics.  The globe is heating up, ice sheets are melting, ocean levels are rising, disasters of huge proportions are straining FEMA’s budget. Dependence on chemicals is similar to drug addiction; you always need a bigger fix.

Not commodity prices either. As the yields you show on the graph increase, the costs of inputs, fuel, labor and machinery also skyrocket while the price for a bushel of grain has not increased proportionately.  My grandfather used to make a good living on 120 acres. Now 600 acres is not enough ground to support a family growing corn and soy. It was you that lamented in a recent column how many more steers it took to buy a new pick-up truck than it did back in the day.

The farmer that looks beyond today, that rotates his crops, that leaves stubble on the ground to prevent wind and water erosion, that increases the soils tilth, sequestering carbon, increasing the soils capacity to absorb water and allowing roots to penetrate deeply, whose soils are not as subject to erosion, that have a healthy population of earthworms and beneficial organisms, that have healthy populations of beneficial insects to naturally combat pests and weed populations are controlled by healthy stands of mixed species of beneficial plants, those are the “sustainable” farmers.  Honey bees can actually survive on a “sustainable farm”.

I do not believe that new chemicals and technology that move away from natural systems are the answer to feeding the world. I do not believe that in the 3rd world it is sustainable to teach and subsidize farming methods that are totally reliant on chemical inputs.  If 50% of the money spent on researching a chemical alternatives to food production was spent researching sustainable agriculture, I believe equal progress would be made toward sustainable solutions.

Organic food consumption continues to grow and now many universities are teaching sustainable methods in conventional agriculture. You cannot foul your own nest and expect to raise healthy young. I think you are riding a Shetland in the Kentucky Derby on this issue. Do you have any corporate sponsors?

Thomas D. McCracken

Buy Local

Posted on January 11th, 2012 by Organic  |  No Comments »

It is of utmost importance that local folks purchase
local products whenever possible, whether it is food or furniture, hardware or
micro-brews. It will always be cheaper to mass produce. But mass production always comes at a cost,
whether it is to human health, the environment, wildlife or jobs. The only hope
a small farmer or shop owner has is to be able to sell his product locally.

If people do not recognize that it is worth more to have
a local farmer who can be trusted to grow food in a way that is sustainable,
then the food will be produced far away and on mega plots of land. Food
produced in this way is vulnerable to disruptions in supply due to fuel cost,
infestations, international trade disputes, contamination and even terrorism,
not to mention the loss of nutritional value. Politicians will never be
convinced to vote for local food production because their election depends on
money from corporations. Look at Obama’s support of Monsanto, change we
believed in. He just approved the unlimited use of two new GMO crops that will
increase the use of the toxic herbicide 2-4D, also known as Agent Orange.

The only vote people have is with the dollars they

GMO Free Zone

Posted on April 25th, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Open letter to the Saguache County Commissioners:

Friends, As you may have heard, the federal government has approved the use of Genetically Modified
Alfalfa in the USA with no restrictions. It appears the USDA has caved in to corporate pressure
from the likes of Monsanto who will profit from the sale of these seeds as well
as from the sale of the herbicide Roundup. This transpired despite overwhelming
public comment against the approval of a crop that has the ability to cross
pollinate with non-GMO alfalfa over large distances potentially contaminating
farmers crops. It is possible that these modified genes could spread across the
entire country, virtually eliminating organic and non-GMO farming of alfalfa,
the countries 4th largest crop. Alfalfa, unlike other GMO crops
grows wild in ditches and roadsides enabling the mutant genes to spread

What many do not know is that in a lawsuit claiming damages due to GMO contamination the
burden of proof is on the farmer (claimant), making compensation much harder to
obtain and for most, financially impossible. Monsanto and other large
corporations are standing behind those that use their products in lawsuits
around the world. Family farmers have no chance against the bio-tech behemoths.

Another disturbing trend is that many weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, causing
producers to use more of this herbicide and eventually resorting to other more
harmful chemicals. Current studies indicate that 11 million acres in the USA are showing
resistance to Roundup. In Roundup Ready corn, producers are finding that the
plants do not have the resistance that the older varieties had to other problems
such as insects & pathogens. Alarmingly, GMO pollen may be contributing to
a decline in the bee population that we all depend on for the production of most
fruits, nuts and other foods. Why are we taking this risk?

While the First Lady grows an organic garden on the grounds of the White House, her
husband’s administration approves GMO crops for mass consumption. I understand
that the First Family eats organic food on a regular basis. Do they know
something the general public should know?

What can be done? I think that the San Luis Valley
could be a safe haven for non-GMO crops creating a significant marketing niche
for farmers here. Our mountainous ecosystem provides a barrier to contamination
from GMO crops in the lowlands. This could allow us to produce clean alfalfa
for sale to organic dairies around the country. It’s also likely that
conventional milk producers will eventually choose to offer products that claim
to be GMO free, just as they have with Bovine Growth Hormone and antibiotics.

Additionally, the San Luis Valley could be a source for clean seed for organic producers who may not be able to
find seeds that meets organic production standards due to GMO contamination.

It is likely that some in the valley might want to plant the new GMO alfalfa seed. However,
this valley is home to a large community of organic farmers who could lose
their livelihood if their crops become contaminated with GM alfalfa. I propose
that the Saguache County Commissioners declare the county GMO
free. Then take it another step, approaching the other counties in the valley
to join us.  This has the potential to be
a significant economic boost for the valley well worth considering.

I am interested in what others think. Contact me at:


Thomas D. McCracken


Posted on April 13th, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

It is time to get out and do those tasks that have been put off all winter. Gardening and working the soil  tend to dry out hands leaving painful cracks. Green Earth Farm is at nearly 8000 ft. altitude in the desert where the air is very dry and windy in springtime. Calendula Creme was created to remedy and protect from the affects of exposure to the elements. Amazingly this product can provide relief from dry cracked skin overnight! Use it during the day to prevent damage in the first place. See what others say on our Testimonials page.

Insect Season

Posted on March 11th, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Those pesky insects will be out and about all too soon. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, biting flies, sweat bees and other bugs can be so irritating. Questions about the safety of the chemical DEET have been increasing of late prompting many to seek a natural alternative. Our all natural insect repellent is not only proven effective, but is made with many organic ingredients that are actually beneficial to the skin. Our customers have used this product in Africa, India and other countries around the world. Here in the San Luis Valley of Colorado we have some of the nastiest bugs around during the early summer and the locals have been using our insect repellent for years with great results. This product will be in high demand soon, so order now and be ready! Available in a convenient spray bottle.  Read More

Wholesale for Retailers

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

RETAILERS!! All of our products are available in quantity at wholesale prices. Some of our products are also available from United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) in the Rocky Mountain region. Call us at: 719-655-2655, or email,