Cindy Lashbrook has a picture of her children that pretty much sums up her beliefs.
The kids are rolling around in a field of clover, laughing and having fun.
"Back in the old days, I wouldn't have felt good about that," Lashbrook said.
That's because back in the old days, that field of clover wouldn't have been organic. Now Lashbrook farms organically, and she believes in organic 100 percent.
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The Livingston farm where Lashbrook grows blueberries, cherries and walnuts has been organic since 1991, and Lashbrook knows well the challenges organic growers face.
Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides and is grown according to standards set by the National Organic Program. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products must come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Lashbrook said the thorniest challenge at her farm is weed management. "You can spend a lot of time on hand weeding," Lashbrook said.
David Silveira spent years working in conventional farming, but when he had children he decided conventional wasn't for him. "I didn't want to feed the food I was spraying pesticides on to my kids," Silveira said.
The Atwater grower now owns Rancho Piccolo, a community supported agriculture farm. He direct markets all he grows, and he grows a variety of vegetables, from tomatoes to bok choy.
Usually, a grower has to wait through three years of crops before being certified organic, but Silveira lucked out. "We had a pasture that no chemicals had been used on," he said. "We didn't have to go through the waiting period."
Silveira said organic growers farm in a way that improves the environment. "You should be improving rather than degrading the ground and the ecosystem," he said.
Silveira said getting consumers to think organic has been slow going in the Valley, but he harbors hope for the future. "It seems new ideas come here last for some reason," he said. "But I think people are starting to come around to realize the worth of eating organic."
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.