SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. urged consumers Saturday to buy organically grown and raised food to promote clean water and support family farms.
Kennedy, president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, launched the Pure Farms-Pure Water campaign at the Health & Harmony Festival, along with George Siemon of Organic Valley, a national brand owned by a number of organic farmers across the country.
Kennedy said many small family farms are turning to organic farming to stay alive.
"The American landscape is now being transformed with a few large, multinational corporations that are taking over produce production," he said.
Kennedy, an environmental attorney and son of the slain senator, said pesticides and fertilizers used by the corporations are finding their way into the country's waterways. He hoped the campaign would encourage consumers to spend their money on organic food.
To carry the "USDA Organic" label, food must now meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.
The standards were to be implemented over 18 months beginning in February 2001.
The rules ban pesticides, genetic engineering, growth hormones and irradiation of organic foods, and require dairy cattle to have access to pasture.
The federal guidelines replace a hodgepodge of state rules and varying private certification standards.
But some farmers have said they could be harmed by the one-size-fits-all government standards.