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ORGANICALLY GROWN VS. CERTIFIED ORGANIC

Yes, there is a difference. Simply stated “Certified Organic,” means the farm has gone through a government agency to certify their farm. When we started our farm, we wanted to use the word “Organic” to describe how our food was grown, because that is the methodology and practice we use to grow our food. We quickly realized that we would not be able to use the word “Organic” because that word was owned by the government. To use the word “Organic” on your food product, you must comply with a list of government regulated pesticides, chemicals, and inputs. Certification is extremely expensive, and given the size/scale of our farm, it would not be attainable. We, at Dirt Candy Farm thought our customers would rather pay less for “Organically Grown,” produce than more for a government seal of approval. We believe that ORGANIK* (K = Know your farmer) is the way to go.

The 4 labels which the USDA owns include:

  1. “100 Percent Organic”

  2. “Organic”

  3. “Made with Organic ________”

  4. Specific Organic ingredient listings…

Many people have a wholesome idea of what a “Certified Organic” farm looks like. Although some of these farms look like that dreamy hillside farm, to the untrained eye, many of these farms could not be differentiated from other conventional’ farms. You might be surprised by accepted industry practices that “Certified Organic” allows. There is a list of products available for the “Certified Organic” farmer to use. This includes synthetic, and pesticide products.

This list can be found here:


Organic certification helps ensure that a farm will operate in a way which is less harmful for the environment and ecosystem compared to conventional agriculture.  It also confirms that the farmer will use only chemical treatments, both synthetic and naturally derived, that have passed a more strict “background check” compared to conventional ones. In contrast, at Dirt Candy Farm, we have only ever sprayed neem oil as insect control.

Our intention of this article is not meant to bash the “Certified Organic” farmer. After all the “Certified Organic” seal is meant to increase healthy industry practices. Instead, we hope as consumers, we will critically re-think our ideas of how food should be grown and purchased. The “Certified Organic” seal was created within a system of industrialized agriculture. The seal is meant to associate more trust between the buyer and producer, since the system was designed to ensure the buyer and producer never meet… Do we really want to give that trust to organizations who profit from the seals implementation? Or, would you rather trust the farmer who lives close to you? The farmer who you can see, with your own 2 eyes practicing what you know to be clean honest agriculture…

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