Certified Organic: Riverside Farm, East Hardwick, Vermont
Organic food production is a system that integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Organic is primarily a system of agriculture designed to sustain the health and productivity of soil life, plants, animals and people. Organically grown food is produced without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. In order to use an organic label, an independently licensed agent must certify growers and manufacturers. The rules of organic production and distribution are administered by the US Department of Agriculture. The state of Vermont also has its own organic certification.
Why Buy Organic?
- No harmful additives. Though hundreds of food additives are approved for use, very few are permitted in organic food, and none of them are considered harmful.
- Avoids pesticides. Organic growing practices prohibit synthetic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
- GMO free. Genetically modified crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.
- No reliance on drugs. USDA organic standards ban the use of antibiotics in animal food. Routine reliance on these antibiotics is linked with bacterial resistance in humans to the same or closely related antibiotics.
- Protect the health of farm workers. Pesticides pose a significant health risk for field workers.
- No hidden costs. Hidden costs for non-organic crops include federal subsidies (paid for by taxpayers), pesticide regulation, hazardous waste disposal, and environmental damage.
- High standards. Organic farmers and food producers provide a record of their products and are verified by independent third party certifiers.
- Tastes better. Many people find that organic food tastes better, possibly due to the fact that organic foods grow more slowly – in the case of vegetables, for example, slower growth results in lower water content and therefore a more intense flavor.
- Care for animals. Organic farms adhering to organic standards provide a high level of animal welfare care.
- Saves energy. Non-organic farming uses more petroleum than any other industry. Organic farming relies mainly on labor-intensive practices such as hand weeding.
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont -Organic Program
The Cornucopia Institute
USDA - National Organic Program
USDA - Organic Production
USDA - Alternative Farming Systems Info Center