You have no items in your shopping cart.
What is Organic?
Organic crops are grown in healthy, biologically active soils. Certified organic farmers use practices that restore, maintain, and enhance soil and ecosystem health. Certified organic farmers may not use toxic synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, unnecessary hormones or antibiotics, GMOs, artificial ingredients, or trans-fats. Organic producers use natural processes and materials when developing farming systems which contribute to soil, crop and livestock nutrition, pest and weed management, attainment of production goals, and conservation of biological diversity.
While crops on organic farms tend to yield less per acre and often take longer to grow than crops on conventional farms, plants nurtured by soil on organic farms produce crops that often contain higher levels of important antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
While dozens of labels promise undefined and unverified benefits, the certified organic label stands apart in delivering what people need: nutritious food, grown using methods that minimize the use of toxins while building soil quality, protecting water quality, and supporting bio-diversity.
Conventional farmers typically apply multiple synthetic pesticides to teas, leafy greens, peppers, tree fruits, berries, and grapes. Residues of some widely used pesticides may trigger subtle changes in a child’s development, and have been linked to a wide range of health problems including ADHD, autism, obesity, and certain forms of cancer.
Sewage sludge is the solid waste product from industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants. The wastewater treatment process removes as many contaminants as possible and then discharge the water as effluent. Sewage sludge regularly tests positive for a host of heavy metals, flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, phthalates, dioxins, and a host of other chemicals and organisms. Thousands of contaminants have been found in sludge. For the sewage sludge to be used on U.S. farms, it need only be below the maximum permitted levels for 10 of them (nine heavy metals and fecal coliform).
Food irradiation is used to kill bacteria, micro-organisms, insects, and to sterilize food. In theory, it could be useful for managing some pathogens or extending the shelf life of produce. However, wide scale industrial irradiation of food is still relatively new. It may require many years or even decades to ascertain with certainty whether it is safe or what risks is poses.
The USDA prohibits genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Certified organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances from farm to table.
Rain is essential to farming, but also results in run-off carrying away whatever pesticides or chemical fertilizers had been applied. The more chemicals applied, the greater the impact on local water quality. The effluent that pours from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico is saturated with agricultural chemicals and has created a “dead zone” larger than the state of Connecticut. In these dead zones, algae blooms grow rapidly, consuming oxygen, and forcing aquatic life to either exit or perish.
Organic food production methods promote biodiversity, the biological cycling of nutrients, and plant and animal health. Organic farms emphasize the conservation of wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Organic farming allows the ecosystem to re-establish its natural balances.
Organic crops are grown in healthy, biologically active soils. While crops on organic farms tend to yield less per acre and often take longer to grow than crops on conventional farms, plants nurtured by soil on organic farms produce crops that often contain higher levels of important antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.