The core of organic farming is the idea of developing a sustainable system of agriculture. Organic farming is a way of producing food that doesn’t deplete the earth’s resources or pollute the environment. Instead Organic farming uses birds, insects and cover crops to eliminate pests and crop rotation to combat weeds. Antibiotics and growth hormones are not needed because animals are treated humanely and their feed is balanced and clean all which reduces the spread of infections. The use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering is strictly prohibited. Organic farming has a real ecological effect on the environment as well as health benefits to those who eat it.
Defined as a labeling term ORGANIC indicates that the food has been produced using USDA approved methods. These approved methods are in written regulations that are governed by a department of the USDA named the National Organic Program or “NOP”.
The NOP gets guidance and recommendations on new regulations and approving materials from an advisory board. This 15 member board is comprised of experts from the organic community that are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. They are called the National Organic Standards Board or NOSB for short.
The NOSB meets twice per year to deliberate and vote on final recommendations. Since this board values transparency they invite and encourage the public to attend and submit comments. All meetings are open and free for the public. Attending the NOSB meeting is a great way to get inside what is happening with organic rules and regulations.
For more information on the NOP and NOSB visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOP. From here you can subscribe to the “Organic Insider” newsletter or take the “Organics 101 literacy initiative”.
The USDA seal that you see on many organic items insures the integrity of the organic products you purchase. When you see this seal you know the food was certified and produced in strict accordance with these USDA regulations. Eat and buy organic products with confidence!