This is a bit of a monumental year for Georgia, in that the State has decided to grow by 100 organic farms in 2015. Organic, meaning, subscribing to the USDA-NOP standards. This is all nice and rosy, and surely, the little green and white label is a safety belt for many consumers. These USDA standards are a tough-pill to swallow for Mom and Pop, who are just beginning, or don't have the resources to go through the certifying process, which costs a few thousand dollars. So, for many of us small producers in Georgia, and across the nation, we have recognized the customer's want for certification, and have chosen to go a more community-based, small-farm direction, aligning ourselves with Certified Naturally Grown.
Many will ask, what's the difference. Basically, the difference is in the paperwork and fees. Certified farms still have all the NOP standards to follow, like no GMOs, organic sources for fertility and pest management, and no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. But, Uncle Sam doesn't come out to inspect, one of our peers (ahem, competitiors?) will give us an annual inspection, and we sign a legal declaration that we are adhering to organic standards. So, when you see the Certified Naturally Grown label, you can think Organic. We just can't say it.