Gardening: Knowing the Ins and Outs before your Dive In

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The definition of Organic Foods means that these foods are either grown or made per a set of criteria or standards and before they can be called organic they must obtain an organic certification.

In order to achieve the organic certification the foods must void of most synthetic chemical inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics (in regards to live stock), any food additives and so on. The farmland that has produced the food must have been free of any chemical inputs for a minimum of three years. The grower of the food must keep a written detail account of production and sales records. Certified organic products must be kept separated from those products that have not been certified and periodically the site growing the organic food will be inspected.

In some countries certification of organic foods is a strict process overseen by that countries government. But here in the United States the certification can be handled by third party companies whose sole purpose is to certify growers (or manufacturers) of organic products.

Since we are specifically talking about growing foods organically in this article you would fall under the realm of farming. In order to be considered an organic farmer you must study organic standards, make sure the area in which you will be farming the crops is in complete compliance with organic standards, obtain an on-site inspection along with passing an oral interview and of course the annual fee to keep the organic certification which can run anywhere from $400 to $2000 depending on the size of the operation. All agencies that hand out that hand the certifications must first be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The term certified organic is protected by legislation here in the United States so that the consumer purchasing a product for the sole purpose of it being organic is kept safe. In other words, it is to prevent manufacturers from misusing the term certified organic to deceive the public.

There are three levels of organic rating in the United States. The top level says that the products have been certified therefore the manufacturer of that product can use the term certified organic. The second level says that the products being manufactured have used at least 95% organic ingredients therefore can put the organic label on their products. The third level of which at least 70% organic ingredients were used can only use the seal “made with organic ingredients”. Anything less than 70% can not use the term organic anywhere on their labeling.

As you can see becoming an organic gardener, a certified one that is, can be a lot of work. However, if you truly believe in going organic and growing your vegetables and fruit in this manner then the work will be well worth it for you.

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Author: Bruce A. Tucker
Bruce is the co-author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person. It is a practical easy to follow book that teaches gardeners everything from composting techniques, aeration and frost conditions, to choosing the right tools and picking the right seeds. To learn more about Mr. Tucker you can visit:

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