When you walk into a supermarket there are several different labels attached to the foods sold there. As of October 21, 2002 the USDA began to regulate the labeling of organic produce. There labeling system is broken down as follows:
- 100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients
- Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients
Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
Organically Grown produce is grown using organic practices, however the producer is not certified organic and is not held to any standard.
When a farmer chooses to be certified organic there are standards he/she must meet set by the USDA. We have listed some of these standards below:
- Have soil management plans in place.
- Establish buffers between organic fields and non-organic fields.
- No unapproved pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are placed on soil or produce.
- The farmer must keep detailed records of all the materials used in their growing operations.
- Must use land that has not been used with conventional farming methods for three years. Or the farmer must observe a 3-year transition period for fields that have been farmed conventionally. During the transition period, the field is farmed organically. After the three year transition period, the farmer may label produce from that field as organic.
National organic standards seek to provide a minimum standard that must be met by those who label there food organic. However, these standards may not be as stringent as they once were and may not be as stringent in the future as they are now. For example, “emergency decrees” allow a processor to substitute non-organic foods for organics if organic food is not “commercially available.” In other words if the demand is more than the supply, you may get non-organic food from the corporations that now own organic labels. Follow the links at the bottom of the page to find more details about the fight to weaken the national organic standards.
Their are only two ways to know exactly what is done in the production of your food.
- Produce your own food.
- Buy it from a farmer you know.
If you are unable to produce your own food then the local CSA is an excellent choice to be in touch with how your food is produced!
You can trust that produce from Coleman River Farms is grown without chemicals. We will seek to be certified organic in spring 2007 to verify to those who do not know us yet that we are meeting the minimum standards. However, our processes will go beyond the basic certification and will build sustainable soil that will grow healthy produce without ever using chemicals.
The following are links to a couple news reports on the organic industry: