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Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown
What Is The Difference, Or Is There One?
Certified Naturally Grown and Certified Organic crops are BOTH grown following the guidelines
in the NOP/National Organic Program Handbook.
There are MANY rumors and opinions about which organization has the strictest rules. The best method to learn what is correct is to do your own research. This can be a lengthy process, and most people don't have time to read ALL of the regulations for the certifying agencies and compare them. In addition, the regulations can change each year, so it's difficult to keep up to date.
Therefore, some reliance upon opinions can be a good place to begin before diving in. Lori found this post on a forum that seems to say many of the same things we see when we search for information. Rather than reinvent the wheel, this is a good start (again, it's an opinion, but a common one among farmers):
From a post at http://www.acleanlife.org : "Organic certification is really a barrier to entry for most small farmers. From the Wikipedia article, “To be Certified Organic (as opposed to Certified Naturally Grown) in the US, a grower must keep detailed records of planting, cultivation, fertilization, harvest, and storage, and must pay for both organization membership and periodic inspection. This process works well for large-scale commercial growers, but becomes onerous for small mixed-agriculture farms. Since only certified seeds may be used, the varieties available to be grown are limited, and sustainable practices such as seed-saving is not permitted, unless the farmer also applies to be certified as a seed supplier.
"Certified Naturally Grown farmers follow the USDA standards of the National Organic Program, but the record keeping and inspection process is tailored to accommodate the needs of small-scale mixed-agriculture farmers, and are not normally permitted to use the word “organic”. Farmers commit to act as inspectors. Farmer-Inspectors are uniquely qualified to observe and note whether their neighbors are sticking to the standards, and are encouraged to provide helpful feedback, which helps foster a sense of community and sharing. Inspection forms are posted on the Internet for anytime public access, and all farms are subject to random pesticide residue testing. All in all, the CNG procedure requires significantly less paperwork, yet arguably results in more transparency and fostering of better farming practices, than the Certified Organic process, which primarily depends on farmer declarations backed by copious paperwork, and which inspects the paperwork rather than the farm.”
"Support biodiversity, encourage the use of open pollinated seeds for seed saving and sharing. Remember nothing tastes better or is better for you than an heirloom fruit or vegetable!"
What Do They Have In Common?
How Are They Different?
How Does 2 Sisters Garlic Fit Into These Programs?
Regardless of whether a farm is USDA or CNG or uncertified, it is still important for the consumer to "Know Your Farmer." Only honest farmers will truly adhere to the standards of either (or both) agencies 365 days per year. During the time we maintained certification (2011 and prior), 2 Sisters and the family/friends we work with were honestly and diligently following the standards. We were saddened to learn of how common it was for many certified growers to use chemicals, while they claimed on certification that none were used.
Because we have reduced our garlic production, maintaining organic certification became cost prohibitive for us, and we decided to drop our certification in the late fall/winter of 2011. In the spring of 2012, two of our 6 main team members became physically limited, and the organic certification and practices were not going to be feasible for 2012. We will still be offering pesticide-free garlic seed for sale, but we will not be certified organic.
Certified Naturally Grown: The History
USDA Organic Certification Program If this page is unavailable, click the link for Agriculture in the left column, and then the link for Organic Certification in the right-hand column.
NOP (National Organic Program) Handbook If this page is unavailable, click the link for Agriculture in the left column, and then the link for Organic Certification in the right-hand column.
All garlic seed for sale is supplied by our small sustainable micro farm in Elgin Oregon - Greifs Gourmet Garlic!
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