Well, Sunday was the big day for us. We had our organic certification audit. Leading up to it, there was some nervousness and wonderings of, “Will our documentation be up to snuff?”, “Is the community landscape-waste compost pile going to be an issue?”, “Are we going to have to change our current system with the goats?”, “How long will it be until we can say we’re fully certified?”, and on and on.
As it turns out, the Verification Officer, Dwight, was both encouraging and acknowledged that we “have a lot of balls in the air.” We all chuckled at that statement -- there’s a reason that we feel frantic sometimes -- we really do have a lot to manage here!
Although the meeting was four hours long, it didn’t feel onerous. Dwight was generous in sharing his knowledge and experience (he’s been in organics since 1974!), which will help us to move forward with improvements to our already high standards of practice. Our biggest project to complete by the time our second site visit happens in the fall is to construct a new coop for our chickens -- we need more perch space, nesting boxes, and a bigger doorway. Who knew that roosters can have the tendency to block the exit and bully the hens? Having a wide doorway makes him not even bother since the hens can get by him anyway.
This is why we’re going through with certification -- by maintaining the standards, we will be using best practices to nourish the soil (rather than deplete it, which is what happens with chemical fertilizers and pesticides), taking good care of our animals, and ensuring that this land will be fertile for generations to come. And, we will be savouring the good food that we are growing along the way, while sharing it with the wider community. Sounds like a pretty fantastic, worthwhile, arrangement to me!
Photo credit: Martín Bustamante