What is Organic?
May 13, 2015
Organic – What does it mean? Consumers are faced with lots of labels on their food, which can be confusing.
• As a consumer, Organic means that there are not any GE (genetically engineered) or GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients in your food – meaning the seeds used to grow your food were harvested from a plant instead of fabricated in a laboratory.
• As a consumer, Organic means that synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides were not applied to your food as it was growing; you can rest easy without worrying about residuals.
• As a consumer, Organic means that the animals were not fed any feed containing GE or GMOs, pesticide, herbicides, fungicides, growth hormones or antibiotics; rest easy without consuming growth hormones and antibiotics in your food.
Want to know more? What things do organic farms do differently from conventional farms?
• Cover crops – Something good for every farm to do, but organic farms are mandated to do so. Cover crops can improve the fertility of your soil and they protect the topsoil, an incredibly prescious resource, from blowing in the wind or from eroding into our streams and waterways.
• Rotate, rotate, and rotate! – Organic farms rotate crops as a way to break pest and disease cycles and to encourage a vibrant soil food web.
• Use of on-farm resources – Whenever possible compost, manures, are plowed down legume crops used to grow healthy, nutrient rich soil which in turn grow healthy, nutrient rich agricultural products. The use of manure applications on organic crops are regulated to prevent pathogenic contamination.
• Healthy Animals – Animal health is promoted through a healthy diet of organic feed, access to pastures, proper housing, minimal stress, and preventative health care practices.
How does a farm become organic?
• Before becoming a certified organic a farm must have not had any prohibited materials i.e. GMO’s, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, for 36 months.
• Organic farms are certified, have annual inspections and reviews which verify growers’ (and processors) compliance with USDA NOP regulations.
• Organic farmers keep documentation of all inputs, crop, livestock, harvest & sales records to verify compliance.
• Dairy animals must be under organic management 1 full year before producing organic milk, meat animals are certified from the last third of gestation, and poultry on the second day of life.