Certified Organic, Spray free and everything in between…but what’s it all mean?

 

Good Harvest Organic Farm Certified Oraganic

What is Certified Organic?

With so many terms being thrown about in the world of organics we thought we would take a moment to look at what some of the common terms mean and what Certified Organic truly is and represents. 

Organic can mean different things to different people, since organic products and principles look different according to where you live and how you perceive them.

We ask all these questions of our farmers and suppliers so that our customers don’t have to. All of our fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables are either certified organic, biodynamic or spray-free. Where possible we will always choose certified organic where possible and will clearly label produce with the farming practice used to grown them.  Over the years, we have developed relationships with our farmers and have come to know their farms and farming practices well. For any questions or more information on any of our produce, feel free to come and visit our friendly team either in-store, at the Farmer’s Markets or online – we LOVE being asked about our produce and talking all things Certified Organic. 

In Australia, Certified Organic always means:

  • Sustainable and Regenerative
  • Synthetic Herbicide, Pesticide and Chemical Free
  • Free Range and No Artificial Additives or Hormones
  • All GMOs are Prohibited
  • Complies with strict certification procedures and annual audits

For a product to be labelled Certified Organic in Australia, it must have gone through a strict certification procedure including inspection and approval by an independent, third-party certification agency. These rigorous assessments ensure that the farm, manufacturer, and final product complies and adheres to relevant standards, such as the National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce or the Australian Certified Organic Standard (or ACOS for short).

Certified In-Conversion

Primary producers go through three stages to becoming organic. In-conversion is the status given to producers when they are in the second year of converting to organic and when some start marketing their product as organic but don’t have full A grade status yet.

The key sections are:

  • Stage 1: Precertification
    precertified products produced during the first year of converting to organic cannot bear reference to being
    certified organic or use a certification body’s logo
  • Stage 2: In-conversion
    in-conversion requires a minimum of 12, and up to 24 months
  • Stage 3: Certified organic (A grade)
    full certification status, also referred to as A grade, requires a minimum prior period of three years

 

Organic & Biodynamic

Organic and biodynamic farming doesn't rely upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural interventionist approaches. This means no artificial pesticides, no synthetic herbicides, no hormones and no growth promotants. Organic farming does, however, use naturally occurring pesticides and herbicides. 

Currently, in Australia, there is no regulation for the term ‘organic’. Just because a product has been labelled ‘organic’ does not mean that it has been through the same rigorous assessment process as a certified organic equivalent. Due to our lack of domestic regulation, you might find products with as little as 2% organic ingredients with an organic claim on their labelling.

The only way to guarantee that your product is truly organic is to look for a certification logo such as the ‘Bud’. These organic certification marks act as a guarantee that what you’re buying is completely organic – certified to meet some of the highest product standards in the world. All organic certifiers are highly regulated by government legislation. That’s why over half of organic buyers look for certification logos to check that a product is truly organic, and you should too!

Although the basic principles of certified organic and organic are the same, certified organic means so much more.

Organic and biodynamic farming doesn't rely upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural interventionist approaches. This means no artificial pesticides, no synthetic herbicides, no hormones and no growth promotants. Organic farming does, however, use naturally occurring pesticides and herbicides. 

 

Spray Free / Pesticide Free

The terms “pesticide-free” and “spray free” are often used interchangeably and can be misleading. For example, if something is labelled “spray-free”, the crop may have been spared from being sprayed with a chemical pesticide, but the soil could have been primed with artificial fertiliser or the seeds may have been dipped in fungicide. If something is labelled “pesticide-free”, a farmer may not have used synthetic herbicides or insecticides but may have used genetically modified plants or seeds. This being said, if a product sold by Good Harvest is labelled spray free, this means Mick has a long-term friendship with the farmer and implicitly trusts their growing methods. 

Conventional Growing

Conventional is a type of farming that uses things like synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers to maximise yield. In some cases, they will also use genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Conventionally grown food can use synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. The amount of these will vary significantly from grower to grower. 

Conventional farming tends to be on a larger scale and require a lot of machinery.

Many people find the use of chemicals and GMOs to be concerning, as there is no long-term research to show the safety of their use.

Conventional also tends to be more detrimental to the environment, thanks to chemical run-off, intensive farming methods and greenhouse gas production.

What next? 
All produce grown by Good Harvest Organic Farm is Certified Organic. We source from other certified organic farmers. On rare occasions some of our produce, seasonally, may be biodynamically or spray-free - we will always clearly identify these items in order for our customers to make informed purchases. 

Visit our website for more information.  


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