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It's about producing goods that work in harmony with, and not against, nature. The aim is to eradicate the use of harmful chemicals by making effective use of nature's natural resources. All organic products are also free of genetically modified organisms (organisms that have had their basic gene structure modified by the addition of external organism genes).


It is the process of adopting environmentally friendly farming practices that protect soil health, the environment and ultimately your own health. Converting to Organic Farming is very challenging and requires patient and committed farmers. Organic farming is subject to the unpredictability of mother nature - making it vulnerable to weather and pest infestations which have no "quick fix" solutions. Farmers utilize a blend of old and new technologies and scientific research to balance the earth's natural ecosystems.

Examples of organic farming methods include:
* Rotating crops between fields. This helps keep pests from building up and improves soil fertility.

* Planting selected bushes and flowers to attract beneficial insects which ward off unwanted pests.

* Using biological insecticides which make use of pests' natural predators to control pest populations.

Organic farming produces nutrient rich, fertile soil which nourishes the plants. Keeping chemicals off the land protects water quality and wild life. It's also about practising good animal welfare where everything from breeding, rearing and handling, to feeding of animals is strictly regulated and a free range lifestyle is implemented

Over and above the environmental benefits, the health benefits are notable! The hazards for human health of consuming products contaminated by harmful pesticides include increased risks of cancer, reproductive problems and neurological damage. Organically grown produce on the other hand is free of chemical residues, has a much higher vitamin content and is usually more flavoursome (which is why many top restaurants prefer to use organic ingredients).

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There are two levels of organic classification:
  -  Organic Certification
  -  Organic in Conversion

A Certified organic product means that the produce and the farming process has been inspected over a period by an independent, specialist certification agency to verify organic authenticity to the consumer. This process normally takes place over a timeframe of about 3 years. During the process, producers may communicate on products that they are "organic in conversion" (as may be seen for example on some major retailers products).

These certification organizations really have only one reason for existence: to provide assurance to the consumer that products and organizations which claim to be organic, really do meet organic standards.
Several certification agencies exist across the country, and these include Eco Cert, SGS, Afrisco and The Soil Association. (Any certification program should be able to give you their standards upon request).

Look for the certification seal or name of the certification agency label. When you see this claim, it means:
   * No harmful chemicals have been applied for at least 3 years.
   * The farmer and processor have annual certification inspections.
   * They have kept detailed records of their practices.
   * They use ecologically-friendly methods and substances to improve the soil and control pests.

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When a product is labelled "Certified Organic", it means that the producer has undergone a rather lengthy inspection process. This process authenticates that the growing and manufacturing of the product adheres to worldwide standards based on the principles and practices of organic food and fibre production. While certain details of the certification process may vary among the certification programs, generally speaking certification begins when the grower or processor completes an application that describes the farm history or plant operation. This description details management practices, the use of materials and so forth. This application is then scrutinized by the certification program, which then assigns an inspector to go and visit the farm or facility.

The inspector visually validates the application information is correct. The inspector writes a report and submits it with any additional documentation to the certification organization for review and approval status. Provided that the farm or facility is approved, it is certified for one year. An annual inspection is required in order for certification to continue. Each farmer and certifier is responsible for the maintenance of a clear audit trail - this is documentation that tracks product by lot numbers, certificates or other product identification codes. This means that at any point in the sale and distribution of the organic product, it can be traced back to its origin.

To check that a product has been certified, look at the product label. Does the product display the name and/or logo of a certification program? If not, ask questions. Be aware that often manufactured products contain certified ingedients, but the processing itself may not be certified. (When in doubt, call the manufacturer and ask about the certifier they use.) If you are buying fresh products, your retailer should be able to tell you who certified the product from the records that are kept in the store. Bulk product should always be accompanied by a certificate indicating the certification program.

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In Germany, the baby-food niche market, with a turnover of about 350 million DM, is moving towards exclusively using certified organic raw materials. Swissair and Lufthansa's first class passengers are being offered organic food as a superior product.

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Some may query, with valid reasons, the health benefits of eating organic versus non-organic.
The big picture really is about aiding a dying planet. Pesticides are harmful to nature, and try as it might to adapt to human intervention, it's failing.
One could think of using organic production methods as a small contribution to a noble cause.

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Organic produce is:
chemical free
hormone and growth stimulant free
higher in vitamin content
GM free






































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