The National Young Farmers Coalition released a new guide for farmers, designed to demystify and encourage organic certification for beginning farmers.
The Vegetable Grower’s Guide to Organic Certification is meant for vegetable farmers who embrace the philosophy of organic agriculture, but aren’t yet certified. It addresses some of the challenges to certification and helps farmers explore the decision for their own farms.
Organic certification is a valuable tool that farmers can use to communicate growing practices and philosophies. Beginning farmers face a large number of challenges as they begin their operations, from barriers to land access to regulatory obstacles. Certification can help ease that transition by boosting marketing and helping to connect with larger potential customer bases.
“There are many paths to success in farming and many ways to communicate the value of your product and production methods,” says Emily Oakley, author of the new report, “but by skipping USDA certification some farmers may be missing a valuable marketing opportunity. This guide is intended to help you understand the advantages of certifying your farm and the steps to making it happen.”
The guide includes:
- A detailed history of organic certification, and how we got to where we are today
- An overview of certification
- A step-by-step guide with practical tools and examples
- An appendix, including further reading and sources for seeds and materials