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An Open Letter to Azure Standard(or A Reason to Come out of Retirement)

I started this blog a few years back and life got in the way. Since then, so many things have happened and so much has changed. I am no longer a desert dweller (I miss it!) and I have four children now (I had two when I started this blog). I have since entered my 40’s (what a fantastic time of life!)

Recently I was contacted by a company as their customer regarding the county they are in, Sherman County Oregon, threatening chemical means (their email to me mentions Round Up) to rid them of noxious weeds thereby causing them to lose their organic certification. I have been a customer of Azure Standard for some time now. The reaction among other passionately organic bloggers was swift. I admit my initial reaction was shock and dismay. But more so, I am concerned about the long reaching effects of this action and a negative precedent being set against other organic growers across this country who are working so hard to provide consumers with a product we can be confident in using and people we can stand behind.

In an age of rampant green washing I am wary of being manipulated and so, over the weekend I set out to seek facts. It is clear from what I’ve seen on social media that there is some local passionate backlash against this company. Having grown up in a small rural area myself I had to wonder just what dynamics were at play here. As a Christian, I wondered about some of the owners responses (on a personal level).

Ultimately, after many passionate conversations with my closest friend, she suggested that it was time to come out of retirement and post an open letter to Azure Standard regarding my concerns and seeking reasonable answers. So here I am. And here is my open email to Azure Standard. I am hopeful that they can provide a clearer, fact based picture for all of us Azure Standard customers who have enjoyed doing business with them.

Dear Azure Standard and David Stelzer, CEO:
You recently emailed me as a customer regarding the potential action of Sherman County, Oregon regarding chemical means on your operation at Ecclesia to address what they call noxious weeds and you refer to as “mustard or canola like” weeds. I have watched your videos and read a good amount of the court documents as I have found them in the Facebook feed regarding this situation on your Facebook page. As a responsible consumer I’d like to be able to support your cause. Can you provide documentation regarding what actions you have taken over what time period to prevent this culminating in a county directed action against your operation to your customers?¬† A timeline and factual list of your actions addressing this situation would be enormously helpful in allowing your customers to confidently stand behind you. The information you’ve sent out, to date, does not give me, as a customer, much to stand on. Does Azure Standard have legal representation to help prevent this? Has a legal injunction been sought? What reasonable and responsible measures have you taken as an organic grower? Please understand I grew up in a small community with local organic farming and currently live in an area where organic farming is still establishing itself and growing. I am deeply concerned about the outcome of this case as it could have long reaching effects on organic growers elsewhere in terms of precedent as well as on Azure Standard. Thank you for your time and for addressing this matter.

Ms. Practicality, concerned organic consumer

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