The most common question we get these days is: why organic? Well, because people demand it. Consumers are making more conscious decisions about what they eat, where they eat it, why they eat it and how it will impact them financially, spiritually and socially. Food choices also have implicit effects on an individual’s health. Access to endless amounts of information through the internet and use of social media has directed consumers to take a more active role in their lifestyle. But who could blame them? The days of going to the local grocery that has been family run for decades and the butcher shop that sources their own meat, is a thing of the past. Most of these “mom-and-pop-shops” have been replaced with grocery store conglomerates and mega-stores offering discount prices and endless selections.
Organic agriculture is regulated and controlled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA is a division of the federal executive department and is responsible for developing and executing policies on farming, agriculture, forestry and food. All policies implemented by the USDA are then further regulated by the States. An individual state’s organic certification program must be accredited and endorsed by the USDA. So in the case of Silver Reef Organic Farms, we are certified by the State of Colorado as a USDA Certified Organic producer. Our production and handling practices meet the very specific guidelines outlined by the Federal government and further monitored by the State of Colorado. Because at the end of the day, the goal is to produce safe, nutritious and environmentally conscientious products for our customers; these regulations insure that this goal is achieved.
In order to be a Certified Organic producer, Silver Reef Organic Farms must maintain extensive records regarding every aspect of production. The list of requirements for each farming aspect is extensive and must be accompanied by documentation, maps, and spreadsheets, really anything that will prove that our practices are meeting the requirements. This protects our company if there was ever an issue that would warrant an audit or investigation. The requirements make sure that we are conscious of every aspect of our farming operation on a daily basis.
The USDA has a phenomenal presentation on-line that overviews the industry and it means to be certified organic. The presentation expands to explain organic agriculture’s significance and impact on the country, policies and procedures that dictate the implementation of these regulations and how a producer may begin the certification process.