Simplifying Produce Certification

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Wandering through the beautiful produce section at Healthy Living can, at times, be an overwhelming task. Different labels stating which fruits and vegetables are ‘organic,’ ‘conventional,’ ‘hydroponic,’ ‘ecologically grown,’ or use ‘integrated pest management’ can easily make someone’s head hurt! We’ve created this trusty guide to answer all your produce certification questions and assure you have an enjoyable, headache-free time in our Produce Department!

Organic-

–   Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop.

–  Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops, supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials.

–  Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used.

–  Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available.

–  The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation and sewage sludge is prohibited.

Ecologically Grown-

–  Combines the most ecologically responsible and economically reliable crop management techniques from both the organic and non-organic systems of agriculture.

–  Crops grown with little to no pesticide use. Of those that are sprayed, the majority get sprays that are approved for organic production and have the lowest possible toxicity to humans

– Use of green manures and soil testing to enhance the soil’s natural fertility

Integrated Pest Management-

–  The optimization of pest control in an economic and ecologically friendly way, accomplished by the use of various strategies to guarantee stable crop production and maintain pest damage below the point of economic injury while minimizing risks to humans and the environment

Hydroponics-

–   Crops that are greenhouse-grown in nutrient-enriched water without soil

–   Never exposed to pesticides, air pollution, animals, or bacteria that can live in soil

–  Available year-round.

–  Given that crops are grown in water, which can not be certified organic, it is impossible for Hydroponics to be organic