Fracking & NYS’s Organic Food

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


We live in the Catskills in upstate New York and currently plans to develop fracking in our state are winding their way through various legislative and regulatory bodies. Quite frankly, we’re more than a little concerned that a bad decision may be in the offing.

Recently, we read an excellent (and frightening) article by Rachel Cernansky for TreeHugger.

She tells about Once Again Nut Butter, a successful company that produces organic products in Nunda, New York. She explains how the company is “growing increasingly concerned not only for its own future as an organic company, but for the entire state’s organic industry, if plans to develop fracking in the state allow to continue”.

According to Once Again’s communications manager, Gael Orr:

“Not only is the New York organic farming industry in jeopardy, but also Once Again itself could lose its organic certification, according to its organic certifier, Oregon Tilth, if the hydrofracking industry causes groundwater pollution."

However, Orr noted,

“Once Again Nut Butter, we’re lucky. If there was a water contamination issue in Nunda, we could still operate here. We could truck in our own water here, potentially. There’s different things we could do.”

Ms. Cernansky continues:

She (Ms. Orr) added that shipping in fresh water would raise the cost of production and make the company less competitive in a market where organic foods are already more expensive.

How to prevent Once Again’s decertification has not yet been determined. The company hopes that in the long run, it isn’t forced to move out of state.

As reported by Mat McDermott in a May 12, 2011 article also on TreeHugger:

“According to data presented by Bob Lewis of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, of the roughly 225 farms participating in the New York City greenmarket system, 40 overlap with the Marcellus Shale formation and therefore are in areas potentially to be targeted by frackers. That's just greenmarket farms keep in mind; the total number of farms on top of Marcellus Shale is much greater, though the exact numbers have yet to be compiled.”

Rachel Cernansky concludes her article with this:

Farmers in New York have been calling for the state to ban fracking, but if such legislation is not enacted, the future of food in upstate New York – and any state  where gas companies are fracking – is alarmingly uncertain.

Well, isn’t that just dandy? If the oil companies get their way on fracking, groundwater could be contaminated, organic farmers and companies could lose their certifications and God knows what other consequences could befall New York state organic food consumers. Sounds like a great plan, huh?

Click here to read the article in full.

What's your opinion? Have you learned what fracking is?