The organic foods movement promotes the health of humans and their environment by encouraging farmers to use agricultural methods that neither deplete the soil nor hurt environmental systems or farmworkers. Organic farming also promotes biological diversity and the recycling of resources through such methods as crop rotation, rotational grazing, planting of cover crops, intercropping, animal and plant waste recycling, tilling, and adding minerals to crops.What does the term "certified organic" mean?
Although the basic definition of "organic" is "living", the National Organic Standards Board defined "certified organic" at their meeting in April 1995 as follows:
How is organic produce certified?
Farmers must grow produce for three years without the application of synthetic pesticides or chemicals. The farm, its equipment, and any processing facilities are inspected by an independent agency unaffiliated with the grower, the processor or the vendor, and are then issued a certificate from that agency certifying the farm's produce as "organic."
Can meat be certified "organic"?
Livestock can be certified "organic" if they have been raised on organic feedstuffs (grains and other products grown under certified organic conditions) for at least a year.
Why is organic produce more expensive than the other kind?
Organic produce, since it is grown without synthetic pesticides or chemicals, is more labor-intensive. Organic crop yields are often not as high as those grown under non-organic conditions, and fewer farmers (only about 4%) use organic methods and sustainable agriculture practices; therefore the price of organically grown produce reflects the greater demands placed on the grower.
Is organically grown produce healthier than other produce?
Certified organic produce is not essentially healthier than produce that has been grown under non-organic conditions -- the nutritional content of a particular vegetable doesn't change. But the lack of synthetic pesticidal residues on organically grown produce definitely makes for a safer product.
The following sites promote sustainable agriculture practices, the use of natural pesticides, and seed and plant biodiversity:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
© 1998 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which
this service is provided to you.