The Road to Certification
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations (USDA). Certified organic food in the United States is grown according to standards set by the National Organic Program.
According to those standards, organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a USDA accredited certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified and inspected also.
Each spring and fall, in collaboration with the NJ Department of Agriculture and area Organic Farmers, NOFA-NJ offers a course, the Road to Certification to assist prospective farmers learn more about certification.
NOFA-NJ can help with certification questions. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org