Duckling at Healing Ponds Farm

"I'm chemical-free!"

We don’t use any GMOs, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, antibiotics or unnaturally occurring hormones.

We’re not “certified organic.” But we absolutely walk the walk.

“Organic” isn’t just a word; it’s a legal term. Unless you’ve gone through the legal process to get permission to use it, you’re not permitted.

Legally, it means all those things we just said: no synthetic fertilizer, no antibiotics, etc. It also means the authorities have verified your land has been free of all these things for a certain number of years. It means you keep an audit trail of detailed paperwork, undergo periodic inspections, and maintain absolute separation between certified and non-certified products. Finally, it means you’ve paid the fee.

USDA Organic Logo

The Label Itself

That said, whether to get certified or not is actually a little controversial.

Certification is a wonderful thing in a context where consumers don’t have a direct relationship with their farmer. For instance, the supermarket: when you’re in the grocery store and you see that little “USDA Organic” label, you know exactly what you’re looking at. Because the meaning is carefully defined by law, the big, less ethical businesses out there can’t cut corners or interpret away the meaning of the word. Certification creates market-wide accountability, and that’s a good thing.

But market-wide regulations weren’t designed to meet the needs of locally produced and purchased foods.

Some small farms aren’t able to pay the annual fee or afford the initial overhaul. Also, the paperwork behind certification was designed for large operations: small farms are a different animal; their record-keeping needs are very different.

Nevertheless, it’s definitely possible for a small farm to follow all the same practices to a T without ever getting certified. These farms don’t do any of that stuff on the non-organic list – synthetic this, artificial that. In fact, often they go further: abandoning the industrialized systems of conventional farming for methods that are both more traditional and more progressive, to achieve healthy land, healthy animals, healthy foods.

Even in these cases, to call oneself “organic” is not allowed!

(1) We’re accountable, by our own personal ethic, to use comprehensive organic practices at their best and truest.

(2) Our customers have a relationship with us that’s direct enough, local enough, personal enough, that they can trust this about us. They know what we’re all about, and they know for a fact what they’re buying: quality foods, grown and raised by people who are seriously passionate about healthy, sustainable, traditional food systems, untainted by anything non-organic.

If you’d like to see our practices up close, just chime in and say so. We’d be happy to show you around the farm.




  1. Pingback: Raw Milk Risks: What’s the Truth? « ludeman's farm & garden center - October 22, 2011

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Pic of the Week

We sell beef. 100% pastured.

We sell beef. 100% pastured. Ask for details.

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