why organic and why certification?

We are very excited to announce that we are now exploring certification with Ecocert and aim to be certified organic by the time our veggies hit the stands in 2013!

We are an urban farm made up of small patches of residentially zoned land (back, front and side yards) that we “lease” on a short-term basis. This presents a bit of a challenge in getting certified. The other challenge is that we are still in the start-up phase and have not been able to justify the cost.

In the meantime, we try to do as our organic farmer colleagues do. When researching what it would mean to become certified, I once again had to take my hat off to all the farmers who have chosen this path and are committed to healthy communities and planets.

Here is what the good folks, and fantastic farmers, at Roots and Shoots Farm have to say:

Certified Organic

In 2011, Roots and Shoots Farm started the application towards Organic certification through EcoCert Canada. In Canada, all certifiers have to meet the National Organic Standards established in 2009. These standards are available on the web here. Although we meet almost every one of our customers face to face on a weekly basis, and despite the fact that any one of our customers is welcome to visit the farm to see how we grow, we still feel it is very important to support the organic standards by becoming certified our selves.

This is because Certified Organic means so much more than just what the consumer sees when buying the product. Certified Organic farms are required to not only keep extremely accurate record keeping of everything that comes in and goes out of the farm, but also ensures that we follow strict standards about:

  • following a sensible, planned, multi-year rotation to break insect and disease cycles on the farm
  • following a composting regime complete with daily temperature recording
  • limiting the amounts of manure brought in from other farms
  • encouraging the integration of animals to make the farm self sufficient
  • using cover crops every year in every field to build organic matter and fertility
  • using only substances on the “Permitted Substances List”, which prohibits any synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides on the farm
  • recording every seed purchase, buying only certified organic seed, and showing proof that organic seed was adequately sought out if it was not available, and never using treated or genetically modified seed
  • protecting waterways and wetlands from farm runoff
  • requiring that animals have access to free ranging space that is out of doors

In the end, there are many aspects to Certified Organic that are not obvious from reading a label on a Certified Organic product. Certified Organic protects not only the health of the consumer, but also the health of the farmer, the ecosystems that produce the food, the waterways on the farm, and the biodiversity of the farm. It is for this reason that Roots and Shoots Farm supports and adheres to Certified Organic standards.

taken from Roots and Shoots Farm website.