What is Organic, Natural, Transitional, Local?
Organic refers to the way agricultural products—food and fiber—are grown and processed. Organic food production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.
"Natural" usually indicates that a food has been minimally processed and is preservative-free. In order for a farmer to meet the requirements of the USDA organic certification they must use organic seeds and may not use banned chemicals and substances on their fields for at least three years before they may call a crop organic.
In addition there is a hefty annual fee that the government imposes on the farmer. Many natural farmer’s whom are technically producing ‘organic’ crops according to the certification criteria, simply do not have the means to afford the certification.
Transitional farm products are crops that are in the process of meeting the organic certification standards. In order for a conventional farmer to convert to the organic classification, they must operate the farm for at least three years under organic standards. This is prior to certification. The produce that the farm sells for those three years cannot be sold as organic.
Organic methods provide smaller yields than their conventional counterpart so the farmer is stuck with less of a harvest and must continue to charge the "chemical" price. This is where we here at Natures Garden Express can really make a great impact. We support the Transitional farmer.
Locally produced food means different things to different people. We like to use a generally accepted definition of local as being a foodshed that is within 400 miles, or a days drive from ones home.
Local food systems encourage growing a wide variety of crops at the same time and on the same piece of land. This helps preserve indigenous biodiversity and also provides a premise that urges people to reconnect with local family farms.
Our location in the southeast gives us the ability to provide the freshest seasonal produce year-round, all within our parameters of local. Not only does buying local help the environment by greatly reducing shipping distances, it allows us to deliver produce that has been harvested just days before you receive it.