January 31, 2010

Organic vs. Certified Naturally Grown

You've seen the word organic plastered all over all sorts of products at the supermarket these days -- just about everywhere but at farmers markets and food co-ops that sell a lot of locally grown produce -- the very places that used to be the sole providers of organic, while the big boys were sneering at the concept.

What happened? Well, agribusinesses saw how popular organically grown food was becoming and decided to hop on. At that point, the USDA became involved and set up a certification program that works fine for big farmers who grow large amounts of just a few crops; a soybean farmer, or a wheat farmer. Not so good for the little market farmer who grows a wide variety of crops sells locally either directly to home and restaurant cooks or to local cooperatives and health food stores.

The local farmers have responded with the designation certified naturally grown.
Read the following excerpt from the Victory Seeds
When the National Organic Program was implemented in 2002, farmers like us that once proudly referred to ourselves as "organic" were no longer allowed to do so unless we became "certified" by a USDA sanctioned agency.

Certification through the National Organic Program (NOP) requires an enormous amount of record keeping. Literally a paper trail of every type of thing you are growing, from seed to sale. This may be feasible for large commodity farms that grow a few types of vegetables (monocrop plantings) and market under contract to chain stores or big processing plants, but time is a short commodity to small growers of diverse crops with a few family members available to complete all tasks.
Read the rest


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