Growing Practices

At J&A Farm we grow our vegetables according to organic principals.  We are not Certified Organic. However….

All of our produce is ‘Certified Naturally Grown’. The following is a description of CNG, that we copied from their website a few years ago. Feel free to visit their website for more info, . You may also view our farm’s profile on the CNG website, every CNG farm is listed on their website.

“Certified Naturally Grown farmers and beekeepers share a commitment to work within the natural biological cycles that are necessary for a truly sustainable farming system – a system that works in harmony with micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, pollinators, plants and animals. Building on Organic Standards: A set of internationally accepted standards and practices for organic agriculture exists, but there’s always discussion around the edges of what should officially be considered organic. We took the USDA’s Organic standards as a starting point for our produce and livestock programs, to minimize confusion. As a private non-profit organization, we have the freedom to set our own standards, and we’ve chosen to do so in particular instances. CNG’s apiary standards were generated “from scratch” (the NOP doesn’t define standards for beekeepers) but in keeping with organic principles.  Certified Naturally Grown is not affiliated with the USDA National Organic Program. Our certification programs do not confer permission to use the word “organic”. ”   

We are are also members of NOFA-NY and have signed their ‘farmers pledge’ . Below is an excerpt from NOFA-NY’s website. You can access a copy of this year’s farmers pledge on the NOFA website …

“The Farmer’s Pledge is a commitment by farmers to farming that assures healthy food, strong local economies, fair working conditions and wages, humane treatment of animals, and care of the land. To further enable consumers to identify the farms they want to support with their food dollars, NOFA-NY has established The Farmer’s Pledge™, a separate and distinct program from USDA Certified Organic. This Pledge is based on the integrity of the farmer. It serves as a bridge between consumers and farmers to better know the agriculturists who work hard to create healthy communities, local food security and food sovereignty. The Farmer’s Pledge is not meant to replace the USDA Certified label, and we encourage farms to engage in both programs.

A Farmer’s Pledge certificate displayed at a farm market stand shows customers a farmer’s commitment to responsible growing and a willingness to be transparent to their community. It shows that a farmer takes an environmentally responsible, ecologically sound, holistic approach to farming. This is a wonderful program for farms transitioning to certified organic, small start up farms, and farms that are already certified organic. “

Why don’t we just label our produce as ORGANIC?

According to USDA regulations, we may not label our produce with the word ”Organic” because we are not “Certified Organic”. We have not paid a USDA certifying organization to give us a certificate that says that our produce is grown according to USDA Organic standards. Our lack of an Organic label in no way indicates a lack of commitment to organic growing practices.

So what does growing according to Organic Standards mean?

In order to be Certified Organic, a farm must only use inputs and controls (pesticides, fertilizers, amendments, treatments) that are approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).  Mostly these are compounds that are naturally derived rather than synthetic formulations. At J&A Farm we only use inputs that are OMRI approved. Plainly put, that means that we do not use fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides unless they are approved for use on Certified Organic farms. But that is not all that Organic farming is about. We do a lot of work to build a healthy natural environment on our farm that supports biodiversity to keep diseases and pests in check. This entails; weed management, integrated pest management, crop rotation, incorporation of cover cropping and good sanitation practices. At J&A Farm we do not use any animal manures as fertilizers, we are lucky to grow in rich black dirt (muck soil) which by its very nature contains up to 80% organic matter. In addition, we take special care to handle our produce with great respect to food safety, ensuring that the food you get is clean, fresh, delicious and safe in every way so that you can feel good about eating it and feeding it to your loved ones. For more about what we do and don’t do, feel free to click on the link above for the farmers pledge.

What about seeds and varieties? We choose our seeds according to several factors including growing conditions and habit, flavor and taste. We always use seed that is un-treated and Non-GMO seed. We use certified organic seed whenever possible.


Leave a Reply