Definition of "Organic"

What is the definition of an "Organic" garden? Is it just sans pesticides, or add only certain things to the garden? And to have an "Organic" garden, is there a certification?
I live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Zone 6. . . I think. Thanks, Todd
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rec.gardens.edible:

There is much to organic gardening and farming. Look at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture page at
http://www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/crops/facts/01-027.htm#define for some
idea of what is involved.
The United States Department of Agriculture has a similar definition, but I do not know its address. Pat, I think you had this. -- Gardening Zones Canada Zone 5a United States Zone 3a Near Ottawa, Ontario
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I know if you want to sell produce from your garden and have it be listed as organically grown you have to go through your states certification process. Here in Florida I think that means that you have to practice organic gardening practices for a minimun of 3 years before you can even apply to be certified organic.
Way too much trouble and red tape to go through for a small time garden like I have at the present time. I do practice organic gardening though and let anyone getting stuff from my garden (mostly neighbors getting herbs) know that no harmful chemicals or pesticides were used. To fertilize my garden I use either fish or seaweed emulsion. I have two large compost bins to recycle most yard and kitchen waste and my husband built me a rainbarrel to circumvent our nasty filtered well water.
Take care, Lynn Smythe e-mail: snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.net website: http://users.adelphia.net/~lynnsmythe

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On Sun, 27 Jul 2003 13:57:41 GMT, "Lynn Smythe"

Those whose 'gross agricultural income' is under $5000/year are exempt from the federal certification requirements.
See: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Q&A.html
Your state may have some other requirements, though.
I've taken care to research this because I intend to sell 'organic' veggies at a farmers' market next year.
Pat
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wrote:

August 2003 view point THE CONSUMER UNION PERSPECTIVE
Assault on organic standards It took 12 years of hearings, hundreds of thousands of comments from the public, and the drafting of 600 pages of proposed standards to create the "USDA Organic" label.
Issued last October, it was a major achievement. Even its toughest critics agree that any food bearing the organic label must be produced far more naturally, with far less impact on the environment, than conventional food. Among the requirements: No synthetic fertilizers, few chemical pesticides, no antibiotics or hormones, no irradiation or genetic engineering, no animal byproducts in animal feed, and access to the outdoors for all livestock.
No sooner did those tough standards go into effect, however, than various enterprises began to look for ways to cash in on the USDA Organic label withouthaving to adhere to all the demanding rules. In October, The Country Hen, a Massachusetts egg producer, applied to its local organic certifier for permission to use the organic label. But to meet the rule that its chickens would be able to go outside, the producer indicated that it planned to put a few porches on its henhouses, which held thousands of layers. Did this promise fulfill the requirement for access to the outdoors? The local certifier said no. But on appeal, the USDA overruled the certifier and said The Country Hen could use the USDAs and the certifiers organic labels.
The certifier has since filed suit against the USDA, and Consumers Union has urged the USDA to change its ruling. In the meantime, Country Hen eggs are on the market with the organic labels.
In Georgia, some chicken producers wanted to use the organic label on their broilers. But they discovered that organic feed, which is what an organic chicken must eat, was relatively expensive. So the chicken producers convinced Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) to push through Congress a rider to the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill saying that if organic feed cost more than twice as much as regular feed, organic livestock could eat the regular kind.
As that drastic cheapening of the organic label became known, Consumers Union and others objected. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) amassed enough support to repeal the feed exemption. But there was a cost. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) insisted that the legislation instruct the USDA to authorize use of the organic label on seafood caught in the wild. That includes not just salmon from the relatively unpolluted waters off the Alaska coast but also swordfish and shark, which the Food and Drug Administration says contain so much mercury that children and pregnant women should not eat them.
Last October, with no hearings or public discussion, the USDA extended its rules on organic labeling to cosmetics. There are now shampoos and body lotions labeled "70 percent organic" based on the fact that their main ingredient is an "organic hydrosol." Whats that? It is water in which something organic, such as an organic lavender leaf, has been soaked.
Consumers Union believes that Congress must stop entertaining requests from special interests to cash in on the USDA Organic label and that the USDA must become a strict steward of how the label is used. Consumers want and need an organic label they can trust.
What you can do
To learn more or to express your views about these issues to the appropriate government officials, visit the Consumers Union Guide to Environmental Labels at www.eco-labels.org.
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des weges wrote:


I am writing to ask the USDA to protect the integrity of the organic label.
That's all.
I just want you to do a good job of insuring that a HIGH standard is met by ALL producers of products labeled "Organic".
All users of the label should have to meet the same standards. If a producer can not / will not meet those standards then they should be denied permission to use the label.
The only exemption that makes sense to me is the exclusion of those whose organically-derived income is below $5,000 from the requirement to be independently certified by a third-party certifier. I think the dollar value of that limit should be closer to $50,000 to permit small scale farmers an opportunity to participate without incurring undue economic hardship.
Thank you for your prompt attention.
Okay ... now it's your turn. http://capwiz.com/consumersunion/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid (17501
Bill
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