The link between propane and organic foods

July 5, 2012 By    

What does propane have to do with the organic food movement? Well, very little if anything, as far as consumers are concerned. But propane marketers stand to benefit from organic food producers, some of whom have turned to propane-fueled flaming equipment for weed control, the more organic foods become mainstream in our culture.

The flame weeding opportunity is the one discussed in LP Gas Magazine’s July 2012 cover story, in which organic farmer Bob Berglund of Grandma’s Farm in Phoenix fought to convince the city of Phoenix, Arizona State Air Quality and the Arizona Department of Agriculture that the propane-fueled flame-weeding equipment he wanted to employ was safe and healthy for the environment.

Berglund, as you’ll read in the cover story, eventually won his case with government officials, and the propane marketer who equipped him with a tank and supplies his fuel is excited about the possibilities for propane and flame weeding on the farm.

“Growing up in Oregon, organic produce was a big concern way back when,” says Wade Wakefield, president of Acorn Propane in Phoenix. “When I moved down here, you could hardly get organic anything – it just wasn’t available. Since then, we’ve had markets such as Sprouts (Farmers Market) and Trader Joe’s move in that now provide [organic foods], and I think it’s gotten people accustomed to a certain level of quality.”

Wakefield goes a step further and adds that some consumers prefer to buy directly from farmers like Berglund, or from a farmers’ market. And the more consumer preferences shift toward organic, the bigger the opportunity propane marketers will have to play a role in weed control on the farm.

The opportunity is there because organic farmers seek weed control sources besides traditional chemicals.

“Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to get some big farms online,” Wakefield says. “People are getting to be so concerned about what they eat that they’re going to have produce certified organic.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the senior editor of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at kyanik@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3724.

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