Organic typically means to include mother nature's best interests at heart. Maintain or improve the soil with compost, crop rotation, and choosing plants suited for the area. Animals are raised and slaughtered in a humane fashion. Animals are usually free range.
Organic farmers are required by USDA – NOP regulations to use organic seeds and planting stock when commercially available. They can use non-organic, untreated seeds when organic seeds are not available in the form, quality, or quantity they need. Annual seedlings must be organic; only the USDA Secretary can grant a variance for seedlings. Perennials can be started from non-organic stock, but must be raised organically for one year before any crop is harvested as organic.
http://ezinearticles.com - this site is an excellent source for sludge/manure (poop that can be used) for the garden.
The best manure for the garden is cow manure and supposedly can be added directly to the garden. The absolute best is chicken manure but it must be at least 3 months old before applying to the garden, it can burn your plants and is often called hot manure.
Did you know that phosphorous contains a naturally occurring radioactive material. Supposedly the amount of radiation from these fertilizers is not harmful, but who really knows, just another reason for organic gardening or all natural status.
Genetic engineering allows us to combine human, fish, mouse, and insect genes in the same animal/plant. Genetically modified organisms (gmo's). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in the laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
http://www.nongmoproject.org (excellent source to learn about gmo's)
non-hybrid – seeds which have been naturally pollinated also called open pollinated
hybrid – seeds which have been created artificially pollinated (by hand).
open pollinated - naturally pollinated
After reading the above and a little more on the internet I will only being buying heirloom, non-treated, non-gmo seeds! I hope you do the same.
WHAT ORGANIC MEANS WHEN AT THE GROCERY STORE.............
(thanks to) november 2010 - good housekeeping - page 57
thanks to the usda national organic program, it's less of a labelling free for all in the supermarket these days. when you see the circular "usda organic" logo on a package, it means that the food was produced according to the strict practices that don't alow the use of synthetic flavors, colors, sweeteners, most preservatives, toxic or long-lasting pesticides and fertilizers, or methods like genetic engineering. organic farming and production methods also ensure that animals are treated more humanely. another assurance: producers of certified organic food are subject to announced and unannounced inspections to make sure farming and manufacturing practices are up to snuff. while timely follow-through has been a problem in the past for the usda program, major increases in its budget and staff have given it more bite.
Page 59 - November 2010 - good housekeeping - smart shopping
sounds like organic, but .... many people confuse these claims with the real (certified organic) thing. here's the lowdown on the lingo
natural - on meat and poultry, this indicates that no artificial flavorings or colorings were added and that the cut was not irradiated to reduce bacteria, but it doesn't tell you anything about how the animal was raised. on products outside the meat case, the term is undefined ( and unregulated ), so it doesn't mean anything.
free range - when you see this term on chicken and eggs, it means that the bird has had access to the outdoors. but the usda doesn't regulate how much time chickens must spend there or what kind of surface it must be (it could be cement).
locally grown - can you define "nearby"? neither can the federal regulators - there's no standard for descriptions of how far food has traveled to reach your store. it's also important to remember that not all organic food is locally grown, nor is all locally grown food organic - even the vegetables and fruit you see at the farmer's markets.