Some CSAs offer organic produce, while others may offer chemical-free produce. While neither a tenant of CSA (meaning not all CSAs provide this type of produce), most will provide one or both of these. So what’s the difference? In short, organic produce is certified by an entity that has reviewed the practices of that farmer and determined the produce to meet the organic certification requirements. Chemical-free produce is not certified, so no organization is behind it asserting what it stands for, though typically this produce meets most (but not all) of the criteria for organic produce.
Kellner Back Acre Gardens is certified by Nature’s International Certification Services (NICS) for our chickens, eggs, raspberries and asparagus. Our other produce is treated the same as our organic produce and is created from organic seed, but is not certified. Certification is a lengthy process and requires extensive documentation, as well as additional costs, so we currently lack the capacity to certify all of our produce. However, for health purposes, you’ll find the produce very comparable between the organic and chemical-free produce at our farm.
So why is organic or chemical-free produce such a benefit to you? Some sources contend organic produce is nutritionally superior than non-organic, but the verdict is out on the reality of this contention. But there are several verifiable differences and benefits.
First, organic produce does not use pesticides. Produce that is sprayed with pesticides often has residual chemicals on it when the consumer eats it. Since organic produce doesn’t use pesticides, you can avoid that residue when eating organic. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit that focuses on health and the environment, stated nearly 2/3rds of produce by the USDA in 2013 contained pesticide residue. The organization created the Dirty Dozen list (the list of produce with the highest pesticide amount), which includes celery, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and apples in 2015. To avoid pesticides in these produce, you can purchase them from Kellner Back Acre Garden!
Second, organic produce is GMO-free. GMO (genetically modified organisms) has been genetically altered to resist to pesticides or to produce an insecticide. Many people believe consuming GMO products may have long-term implications, but given it is a relatively new technology, long-term studies have not been conducted. But given GMO products resistance to pesticide, higher quantities of pesticides can be used, resulting in more consumed by individuals than before. In addition, organic farming uses organic farming practices, which is more sustainable and better for the environment. (See our blog post on week 3).
Finally, organic produce (such as our eggs and chickens) are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal byproducts. Our chickens are pastured as well, which leads to healthier birds and better quality meat for our consumers.
Image credit: Freeimages.com/ Beverly Lloyd-Roberts