Organic farming is gradually becoming a norm with most farmers across the United States of America. However, many of these environment friendly farmers have not applied for organic certification, which is issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. Hence, they cannot sell any of their products as organic produce. As a result of this, many farmers have opted to use the label – ‘Certified Naturally Grown’ instead.
Is ‘Certified Naturally Grown Food’ an Alternative to ‘Organic Food’?
Over the past decade or more, a number of farmers across New York have been following agricultural practices that are essential for organic farming, as specified by the United States Department of Agriculture. However, many of them opt not to seek certification for the same from the department, mainly due to the extensive records that have to be maintained and payment of fees amounting to six percent of total sales.
Hence, they cannot sell their produce under an ‘organic’ label. If they do so, they are liable to pay a fine of twenty thousand dollars or more in addition to being faced with federal charges.
Justine and Brian Denison are a typical example of this scenario wherein they have followed every rule that goes hand in hand with organic farming for over twenty years. Since they chose not to apply for organic certification, they have to refrain from using the term ‘organic’. As a result of this, the Denisons and other small farms have decided on using the term ‘Certified Naturally Grown’ instead.
Certified Naturally Grown was initiated by a small group of organic farmers in retaliation to the organic program being taken over by the government in 2002. The Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown – Alice Varon stated that the term is now being used by over seven hundred farms across forty seven states. She also mentioned that the introduction of this label has benefited direct market farmers who refrain from the use of chemicals.
Certified Naturally Grown works on the principle of peer inspection to ensure that farmers do not use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides as well as to ensure that the practice of cover crops and crop rotation is followed. Varon added that the farmers who used this label didn’t opt for it for a premium but to follow what they believed in, by using agricultural practices that focused on harmony with nature.
Eco-Friendly Promotional Items Can Help in Popularizing Organic Food
Most individuals are looking for a positive change in lifestyle and opting for organic food which could be a simple step in that direction. Hence, organic food companies and producers are on the lookout for novel ways to promote an organic lifestyle. Creating awareness through the use of eco friendly promotional items is one of the ways to do so.
Distributing pouches of organic seeds or small potted plants bearing the branding of the company can be useful options when it comes to promoting organic farming. The use of customized reusable bags for carrying home produce and recyclable storage containers to keep produce fresh for a longer time are also suitable options.