Think you know about organic certification? Chelsea Chandler, Green Seal Environmental Scientist and Certification Project Manager, explains why she pursued third party certification for her CSA farm. If you haven’t already, read our previous blog post, in which Chelsea introduces us to her farm.
Tell us about your farm’s latest achievement.
This past fall, my farm, Plowshares & Prairie Farm, achieved USDA organic certification through MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc.), a USDA accredited certification agency.
Why did you choose to pursue organic certification?
For several reasons. First, it provides us with clear marketing – agricultural practices are nuanced and it’s challenging to explain exactly how you grow your produce “sustainably” or “organically” to a customer. It’s convenient to have a third-party certification that most people understand to use in communicating what we do. Another benefit of the organic certification process included making sure we keep good files, do regular testing, etc.
Being certified organic is also a requirement to be a member of the FairShare CSA Coalition in Madison, Wisconsin, which has been a fantastic support group with services like farmer-to-farmer education and marketing. They have even negotiated with local health care providers to offer rebates to members who purchase a CSA, adopting a really sensible preventative health approach and offering a discount so members get affordable organic produce, and support the local farmers.
What did the organic certification process consist of?
Mostly paperwork and documentation, some testing, and a site visit. See more details here: http://mosaorganic.org/steps-to-certification/. As a Certification Project Manager for Green Seal, it was very interesting being on the other side of the process!