Starting last year we began transitioning a piece of our property separated by a hedgerow in a slightly different direction than the rest of the farm. This season will be the very first year we will be offering vegetables that are...grown from certified organic and untreated seeds and not sprayed with any synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
Further more, but items that are not new to us, crop rotation, cover cropping, compost, heirloom seeds, and non-GMO seeds.
For all intents and purposes we will have almost 4 acres of production that we could get certified.
Rules are in place that say if I do not choose to certify the portion of the farm that I produce vegetables grown using organic practices I can not use the word "Organic."
There are a lot of people that throw caution to the wind and post "Organic" all over every sign, flier, and business card they have. However, I don't want some disgruntled person with a clip board and a passion for making an example out of someone to show up at my door.
Quite a few uncertified farmers have gotten creative in trying to get across the point that they are "Organic" with out doing mountains of paper work and paying money to say the word. Yes, to be certified requires a lot of paper work and a hefty fee.
Other Terms I've come Across for "Organic":
- natural (not the same thing but people use it that way)
- responsibly grown
- bio dynamic
- old fashioned
- grown using organic practices
- sustainable (there thousands of definitions for this one)
- un-certified organic
- beyond organic (these are farmers who want to surpass the organic standards)
- no synthetics
I agree there should be some system in place, like certification, to protect the consumer. But I'm not going to make myself crazy to be certified when we're an open book. I love your questions. I love visitors...if you visit you will be put to work...and you will hopefully love it!
In the USA Today article, "Organic' certification gives farmers a tough row to hoe," the author offers a good point and a great quote:
"Maintaining paperwork required to be USDA certified organic is more than many can handle. Salatin says he would need another full-time staffer.
"Some farmers "are no longer playing the organic licensing game due to its onerous bureaucratic qualities," Salatin says. "And it does not address many of the important variables — like techniques for soil fertility, weeding and employee treatment."Hmm...what to call my un-certified organic vegetables? I started by describing them as vegetables grown using organic practices but I'm not sure I like it.
I do however like "unconventional."
This past January I met with one of our seed sales reps who used to call on my parents. As we were going through what I wanted to order based on my goals, he (Jim), paused for a moment and said, "The acorn sure fell far from the tree. Your parents were so conventional! Where did you come up with these ideas?"
We laughed. And I'm pretty sure he secretly thinks I'm nuts.
I like unconventional because I want to try to always be outside the box, creative, inspired and open.
So for me, my fancy synonym-like word will be "Unconventional."
On a final and fun note....in my travels through the internets, I came across a really neat item offered by the Connecticut North Eastern Organic Farming Association. It's a Farmers Pledge and it lists a lot of wonderful-ness. I quite love it and think it's a worthwhile pledge to make. Take a look....