Are We Organic?
Groundworks Farm works with an ecological farming model that emphasizes integrated systems of plants and animals. We focus on soil health, with resilience and vigor of organisms maintained through low-stress, healthy growing conditions. We do not use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, etc., and even avoid Organic approved palliatives. Instead we encourage beneficial interactions and employing appropriate rotations. We also must minimize off-farm inputs as a general rule. Our animals are not administered growth hormones or feed with antibiotics. They are raised in humane, range conditions to accommodate inherent potentials for productivity and health. Our purchased feeds ARE certified Organic, but we also feed items grown on our farm which are not technically certified.
Capital “O” Organic is a federal and international legal certification for farms and products. We are strong supporters of maintaining and strengthening the integrity of Organic certification, but we have not yet pursued certification for our farm. Our farming practices and motivation, however, are driven by a commitment to the principles underlying organic certification, and also to principles of sustainable agriculture that are not captured within the legal protocol.
A primary function of a systematic organic labeling system is to enforce an accountability of producer to consumer. The Organic label at the grocery store suggests a product that embodies qualities and values that the buyer seeks. This is essential when producer and consumer are anonymous. Our small farm markets its products close to home, with most sales directly to the end-eater. We are accountable to the integrity of our face-to-face exchanges and to an open-door farm policy. Organic certification requires time and costs that are all too dear on a small, diversified farm, and, to date, we haven’t found it justified as we create and manage this operation.
The short answer, without making undue claims to capital letters, is yes, we farm following organic principles. At this point, however, we are not certified Organic.