Organic farming relies on developing biological diversity in the field to disrupt habitat for pest organisms, and to maintain and replenish the soil. Organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. (CUESA)
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reponsible for the managing the National Organic Program, which was implemented in October 2002. Organic farming avoids the use of most artificial inputs, like synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and bans the use of animal by-products, antibiotics and sewage sludge among other practices. Any food product (except fish) using the word organic must be certified as such by an official USDA accredited certifier. (www.eco-labels.org)
There is no government or official definition for this term except on meat and poultry products as defined by the US Department of Agriculture. Use of the term “hormone free” is considered “unapprovable” by USDA on any meat products. Meat and poultry products carrying the “no hormones administered” claim imply that the animal must not have received any added hormones during the course of its lifetime.
Free range (or free roaming) implies that a meat or poultry product comes from an animal that was raised in the open air or was free to roam. Its use on beef is unregulated and there is no standard definition of this term. The term “free range” is only regulated by the USDA for use on meat poultry products. USDA requires that birds have been given access to the outdoors but for an undetermined period each day. “Free range” claims on eggs are not regulated. To learn more about what is meant by this term, customers should ask the rancher about their specific practices. (CUESA)
Free range is regulated by the USDA for use on poultry only (not eggs) and USDA requires that birds have been given access to the outdoors but for an undetermined period each day. USDA considers five minutes of open-air access each day to be adequate for it to approve use of the free range claim on a poultry product. “Free range” claims on eggs are not regulated at all. To learn more about what is meant by this term, consumers must contact the manufacturer. (www.eco-labels.org)
Heirloom varieties, also called farmers’ varieties, traditional varieties or landraces, have been selected and developed by farmers through years of cultivation and seed saving for the next season. Farmers hand them down through generations. These varieties are often specifically suited to a certain climate and soil type, and have been selected for flavor, pest resistance, productivity, and even beauty. Heirlooms are typically very genetically diverse and variable. (CUESA)
Farmers need to practice organic methods for three years on a given piece of land before the products grown there can be certified organic. “Transitional” means that the farmland is in the midst of that transition period towards organic certification. (CUESA)