Definition from USDA (1980)
Organic farming is a production system which avoids the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming systems rely on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off the farm organic wastes, mechanical cultivation, mineral-bearing rocks and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilth, to supply plant nutrients, and to control insects, weeds and other pests.
Organic farming practices build sustainable soil fertility which deeply nourishes plants, giving them more concentrated, intense flavor and nutritional power. When you buy organic, you support a growing family of people whose goal it is to provide the tastiest and most nutritious food available, now and for generations to come.
Organic Food and Fiber products are produced using:
- Agricultural management practices which promote and enhance agro-ecosystem health, including diversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. These include crop rotation, cover and green manure crops, use of beneficial insects, composted animal manure and plant wastes, and natural soil amendments.
No genetically engineered seeds or crops, sewage sludge, raw manures, synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers are allowed.
- Livestock management practices that decrease environmental stress and promote healthy animals without the use of antibiotics and other prohibited products. These include organic feed, outdoor access and pasture areas, clean water, well ventilated housing, clean bedding, and humane treatment.
No antibiotics, growth hormones or genetically engineered products are allowed.
- Food processing management practices that protect the integrity of the organic product.
These include prevention of commingling organic products with non-organic products, sanitation chemicals, and prohibited pest control products during storage, processing and transportation.
No food irradiation, genetically engineered ingredients or synthetic preservatives are allowed.