Want to learn more about organic food and sustainable agriculture? Here's some additional resources:
There's a lot of opinions about organic foods available from many sources and we want to ensure that you have accurate and objective information. So, we've gathered some good sources below that we hope you can consult when making your food purchasing decisions. Please contact us if you want more information.
Unfortunately, I can't get the links to work directly. However, if you highlight the links, right click on them and select "Open link in new tab", you will find the references.
United State Department of Agriculture (USDA)
In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act that requires products sold as "organic" must be produced using specific methods. After much discussion, a set of national standards for orgnaic foods was developed and, in 2002, the USDA began enforcing these standards. Under these standarads, farmers cannot use synthetic chemicals when they grow their crops or raise their livestock. If farmers make other products, for example a fruit salsa from their organic fruit harvest, they must use only organic ingredients. How do you know if something is organic and farmers have followed these rules? The USDA has an organic label for foods produced with thesee methods. To use this label, farmers must apply for organic certification and prove that they follow the standards set by the Organic Food Production Act. The USDA also inspects farms where organic foods are produced. An overview of organic production and certification may be found at: http://www.neon.cornell.edu/training/ppts/NOPandCertification.ppt. More informatoin on organic certification may be found at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop.
The Organic Community
We want our customers to be well informed when they purchase our food. We wouldn't recommend "industry information" that could be biased or distorted. Many organic organization's websites make unproven claims. However, there are some organic websites that are fairly well balanced and offer good information. Two of these are the Northeastern Organic Farmers Association (www.nofa.org) and The Organic Center (www.organic-center.org).
To be fair, here's a National Public Radio piece on the accuracy of some of the organic community's claims: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food-may-not-be-healthier-for-you.asp
College and University Resources
Many US college and universities have conducted research on organic foods and organic food production methods. This Iowa State University article has a history of organic food production methods, the certification process and labelling requirements, descriptions of current organic production methods, and some thoughts about why farmers use organic methods and why consumers buy organic food. The Fundamentals of Organic Agriculture can be found at: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEwQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstore.extension.iastate.edu%2FProduct%2Fpm1880-pdf&ei=o7UDU6vXMJO4yAG29YCABQ&usg=AFQjCNEV1XVxzg1aY2ihxesAgHikWJgXJQ&sig2=u8-GHgRna4yUqrXnfvyTiA. There are many other colleges and universities with information about organic foods - Purdue and Cornell are good choices - and we encourage you to explore these sources because they are objective and factual.
Royal Society of Chemistry
While the production of organic foods has increased dramatically in the past decade, US consumers are not alone in their concerns about food safety and production methods . European consumers have moved even more quickly to buying organic products. This series of short discussions on some of the arguments in the "organic versus non-organic" debate may help you determine truth from fiction: http://www.rsc.org/get-involved/hot-topics/organic-vs-non-organic/index.asp