For most of us that prefer to buy organically grown food, we first think that the food hasn’t been sprayed or the animals we may be eating ate food that wasn’t sprayed with harmful chemicals. That is a great start but not where it all “starts”. Certified organic food is grown from organically produced seeds and grown with organically approved compost, soil and plant nutrients. And, I may grow my vegetables in my backyard garden using organic methods, but as I experienced this morning, finding an organic plant start in the variety I want may not be as easy as I’d hoped. In the end I bought three starts of cilantro that were not certified organics but will grow them organically in my yard. All this is to say that growing organically is complicated.
“In order to be certified organic, crops must be grown on land free of prohibited substances for at least three years prior to harvest…..National organic standards require producers to use organic agricultural methods and materials that cover soil fertility, the application of manure, crop rotation, and composting. National organic standards prohibit the use of municipal solid waste and sewage sludge as compost ingredients. Organic producers also must follow a National List of Acceptable and Prohibited Materials concerning pest control treatments, fertilizers and seed treatments that they use. All agricultural materials must be evaluated for their long-term effects on the environment and not simply whether they are synthetic or natural.” Organic Trade Association
Suffice it to say, from a soil perspective, certified organic farming and organic gardening are two very different things. “Organic” on the labels of bags of soil you read at stores is not the same meaning as “organic” applied to certified organic farming.
Green Planet Naturals (GPN) Compost is on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Material List, and is approved for use in certified organic farming and food production. All of our soil and planting mixes include Green Planet Naturals organic Compost in the formula. We use pumice in our planting mixes, which in the state of Oregon is considered a “natural” material because it is a mineral, not a carbon life form. All of the other ingredients in Green Planet Naturals soil mixes are organic from the perspective of bagged soil because those ingredients are carbon based – such as spaghnum peat moss, coco coir, and worm castings. That said, a number of ingredients used in GPN products are on organic materials lists, meaning they are approved for organic food production.
By Linda Brown, General Manager, Green Planet Naturals