by Jane Saiers (“Farmer J”), RambleRill Farm | Sept. 22, 2015 – 

CFSA Farm Services offers consulting for farms ready to transition to organic.

RambleRill barn and sunflowers

In 2010, my husband and I started RambleRill Farm, where we offer educational and wellness programs and grow and sell certified organic fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. We are proud to grow US Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic produce. We ate certified organic foods for years before we started to grow our own food because, like many consumers, we equated “certified organic” with not using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and, therefore, with safer food for us as eaters.

Upon starting the farm in 2010, my husband and I did not intend to pursue organic certification of our produce. We followed the lead of other farmers who described themselves as “following organic practices but not certified.” The inspirational spark that led our farm to change course and pursue organic certification was a guest lecture by Earthwise Company’s Tony Kleese in a class in the Sustainable Agriculture program at Central Carolina Community College. Having heard Tony speak about the history, purpose, and practices of certified organic growing, I read the National Organic Program standards for certified organic production for the first time. I learned that, yes, being certified organic entails not using synthetic insecticides, herbicides, or fertilizers—but it is much more than that. 

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by Keith R. Baldwin and Eric Soderholm

When it comes to inputs for transitioning or certified organic farms, there are plenty of mistakes that can easily be made that would start that three-year “transition” clock back to zero. A short review of some of these simple mistakes will hopefully keep you out of trouble. (more…)