Letter to the Editor
The article in The Florida Times-Union on Feb. 20, 2015 that gave data from a recent survey on the large number of Jacksonville residents that are changing their buying habits and “going organic” was a refreshing and encouraging example of recent health trends found across the nation. Consumers should be aware, however, that not all products labeled organic are created equal.
Industry standards allow manufacturers on certain products to use an organic label if it meets even the most basic and minimum organic requirements. For instance, in bagged compost used in gardens to grow produce, an organic label can be used even if sewage is an ingredient. Listed as “organic solids,” sewage is considered organic because it is not manufactured or changed. Sewage can be filled with almost anything including prescription medications. Chemicals such as these cannot be in the soil where our produce is grown without risk of transference and contamination.
UNF’s Ogier Gardens uses compost from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. A result of waste from only the herbivore animals, the compost is aged six months and provides the soil at Ogier Gardens the highest standard to grow organic produce.
In the summer of 2013, Ogier Gardens began the three-year process of becoming certified organic. The students, faculty and community can be assured that the produce they consume from Ogier Gardens is grown with the highest organic quality.
Kevin Anderson, coordinator at Ogier Gardens
University of North Florida