Why Organic?

1. Organic food tastes better! Organic food is given more time to grow and develop, which allows its full flavor profile to intensify and deepen. It's essentially garden fresh as if you grew it yourself.
2. Organic food has more vitamin and mineral content than conventional food. Again, because organic food is allowed to grow and develop more slowly, it generally contains less water and more solid matter, which leads to more nutrients and flavor.
3. Organic foods are not covered in pesticides. The average conventionally grown apple has 20 to 30 artificial poisons on its skin - even after rinsing.
4. Organic food cannot be genetically modified. We have yet to figure out what side effects might arise from genetically modified food. But by avoiding it now, you won't have to worry about those side effects later in life.
5. Organic farming is much safer for the people working on the farms. There are much higher cases of cancer, respiratory problems, and other diseases found on non-organic farms.
What does Organic "really" mean? The term "organic" didn't always stand for what it does today. And while it appears that the movement towards organic living has just recently caught traction, it's been on the move for the better part of four decades. Further, it took a while for the government to understand the true nature of organic certification and what standards need to be applied. There is still a ways to go, but much progress has been made. Brief History of the Organic Movement: The 1970's saw the introduction of independent certifying agencies in an attempt to thwart consumer fraud of the increasingly popular organic movement. Although an improvement to the non-existent standards, these agencies, with their lack of consistency, did little beyond generating public interest and creating a demand for a better set of standards. In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act. However, it wasn't until 1997 that the USDA released their proposed regulations. This first release, some would term a mockery, brought about further public awareness with its inclusion of the "Big 3" as acceptable organic practices. The branded "Big 3" are defined as sewage sludge, GMO's and irradiation. The scoffing public sent Congress back to the drawing board and in March of 2000 the second draft was released, sans the "Big 3" and the "National Organic Program" or "NOP", was born, with full implementation and regulation in place October 2002. USDA Certification and other Governmental Jargon: So what does it take to get the USDA Organic Seal? Here's where it becomes a governmental, logistical issue chock full of jargon and acronyms that we've narrowed down to get the point across:
bullet point The NOP (National Organic Program), governed by the USDA uses the NOS (National Organic Standards) as benchmark standards that must be in place, or excluded, to meet the NOP regulations.
bullet point The USDA then accredits state, private and foreign organizations to become "certifying agents". These 3rd party agencies then certify that organic "production" and "handling" practices meet the NOS.
bullet point There are just around 100 certifying agencies worldwide, roughly 60% domestic and 40% overseas.
bullet point The Certification process is 5 Tiered and is reviewed annually: Application, Inspection, Review, Resolution, and Certification.
bullet point There are a number of standards to meeting USDA Organic certification, but the following are the most critical:
bullet point Product protection against contaminants (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). Farms must be at least 3 years free of any contaminants.
bullet point Sanitation in product housing area
bullet point Product Housing Pest Control
bullet point Product Labeling Compliance (See "What's in a label" in next section)
bullet point Employee Training
USDA Organic Chart**Visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop for a complete breakdown of NOS standards and guidelines. Jargon aside, it is a very stringent set of regulations at every level that must be followed to bring a USDA certified Organic product to your table! What's in a Label? You're at the supermarket perusing the shelves and scrutinizing each label only to find that some products tout to be 100% organic, while some are "made" with organic, and some simply read "organic". To clear up the syntax read the diagram to the right. The Bottom Line: The term "Organic" is specifically an agricultural production methodology, a process claim or standard by which ingredients or foods are grown, processed and handled. It ensures that the food is grown and processed without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial flavors, as well as other potentially harmful entities. It is safe to assume that these methodologies yield foods that are ultimately better for the human body than their non-organic counterparts yet scientific studies are only now beginning to confirm these claims. Until then, the USDA is not claiming that "organic" equates to "healthy", yet we can certainly ascertain that it is undoubtedly "healthier". Nutrition aside, what is often underestimated or undervalued is the effect of organic farming on our environment, wildlife, overall ecosystem and again, full circle, back to human health. Perhaps even more impacted than consumer health, are those who work on farms, harvesters, processing plant workers, and packagers. There is little doubt, but less awareness that pesticides, fertilizers and other synthetics contaminate our ground and surface water, negatively effect our wildlife population and endanger agricultural sustainability. It is clear that going "organic" is not only sensible from a nutrition and health standpoint but also in respect to being environmentally sustainable. We aim to make genuine efforts towards environmental sustainability, and to offer products better for our bodies. We did not recently decide to be a "green" company, we were founded on it. Liquid Planet: Providing products good for the body, spaces that feed the soul, and profits that give back to the Earth. Bottom Line: You are what you drink!
Shop with a Conscience, Drink with Intention
Resources: National Organic Program Organic Trade Association QAI-Quality Assurance International US Department of Agriculture