Organic practices include:
- CROP ROTATION plants alternating types of crops grown in each field, which helps prevent soil depletion. Pests are also managed through crop rotation by eliminating breeding grounds built year after year with a continuous crop.
- PLANTING COVER CROPS adds nutrients to the soil, prevents weeds, and increases organic matter in the soil. Soil with high organic matter resists erosion and holds water better, requiring less irrigation. Studies have shown that organic crops fare better than non-organic crops in times of drought and stress.
- RELEASING BENEFICIAL INSECTS to prey on pests helps to eliminate the need for chemical insecticides that can remain in the soil for years or leach into our water supply.
- ADDING COMPOSTED MANURE and plant wastes helps the soil retain moisture and nutrients. Just as falling leaves return nutrients to forest soil, composting replenishes the soil.
Organic Practices mean:
- No pesticides to contaminate our soil and water or injure farm workers
- No chemical fertilizers to runoff and contaminate our rivers, lakes, oceans and drinking water
- A healthier and more sustainable environment for us all!
How do I know when a product is organic?
Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of the foods without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. The following definition of “organic” was passed by the National Organic Standards Board in April, 1995: “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
In October of 2002, the National Organic Standards went into effect, requiring that all products labeled as organic meet stringent standards established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consumers have the force of law behind all organic labeling claims, providing peace of mind that when something says it is “organic” it will meet the strict standards set by the USDA.
These standards include:
- Land on which organic food is grown must not have had prohibited substances applied for three years prior to certification.
- Farmers and processors must keep detailed records of methods and materials used in growing or processing organic products.
- A third party certifier approved by the USDA must inspect methods and materials annually.
- All handlers and farmers are required to maintain an Organic Handling Plan detailing their management practices.
- Under the USDA regulations, in order for a product to be labeled as “organic” it must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. All Country Choice Organic product proudly carry the USDA organic seal signifying they contain 95% organic ingredients.
The USDA allows for three categories of labeling organic products:
- 100% Organic Made with 100% organic ingredients
- Organic Made with at least 95% organic ingredients, with strict restrictions on the remaining 5%
- Made With Organic Ingredients Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30%
Products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients may list specific organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
An Opportunity to Support a Healthier Tomorrow
Organic agriculture is transforming farming around the world by:
- Protecting farm workers and their families
- Protecting young children and people with compromised immune systems who are most vulnerable to the poisons we are putting on our food and in our soil, water and air
- Increasing biodiversity, including one of the most important places of all- the life in the soil
- Saving small family farms
- Setting higher humane animal standards
Through nurturing the soil and keeping toxic and persistent chemicals out of the environment, organic agriculture can help us pass along a healthy and safe planet for future generations. The cost may be a little more, but the value for you and your family may be far greater.