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posted: 8/17/2013 3:24 PM

Naturally Grown: An alternative label to organic

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  • Justine Denison poses with fresh produce at Denison Farm on Aug. 12 in Schaghticoke, N.Y. Justine and Brian Denison adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, but if they label their beans and tomatoes "organically grown," they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines. That's why they and hundreds of other small direct-marketing farms across the country have adopted an alternative label: Certified Naturally Grown. Certified farms pledge to follow organic practices, while avoiding the high fee and extensive paperwork required for the federal organic label.

      Justine Denison poses with fresh produce at Denison Farm on Aug. 12 in Schaghticoke, N.Y. Justine and Brian Denison adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, but if they label their beans and tomatoes "organically grown," they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines. That's why they and hundreds of other small direct-marketing farms across the country have adopted an alternative label: Certified Naturally Grown. Certified farms pledge to follow organic practices, while avoiding the high fee and extensive paperwork required for the federal organic label.
    Associated Press

  • From left, Julie Gardner, Walter Cameron and Lauren Ross-Hixson transplant lettuce in a field at Denison Farm in Schaghticoke, N.Y. on Aug. 12. Justine and Brian Denison adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, but if they label their beans and tomatoes "organically grown," they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines. That's why they and hundreds of other small direct-marketing farms across the country have adopted an alternative label: Certified Naturally Grown. Certified farms pledge to follow organic practices, while avoiding the high fee and extensive paperwork required for the federal organic label.

      From left, Julie Gardner, Walter Cameron and Lauren Ross-Hixson transplant lettuce in a field at Denison Farm in Schaghticoke, N.Y. on Aug. 12. Justine and Brian Denison adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, but if they label their beans and tomatoes "organically grown," they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines. That's why they and hundreds of other small direct-marketing farms across the country have adopted an alternative label: Certified Naturally Grown. Certified farms pledge to follow organic practices, while avoiding the high fee and extensive paperwork required for the federal organic label.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. -- A grass-roots program started by organic farmers in New York's Hudson Valley as a backlash against federal takeover of the "certified organic" program in 2002 has expanded to include more than 700 farmers in 47 states.

Executive Director Alice Varon says Certified Naturally Grown is an alternative to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's national organic program. She says it's tailored for small farms that sell directly to customers at farm stands, farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture programs.

Participants must adhere to organic principles such as avoiding synthetic chemicals. Proponents say the program lets them promote their commitment to sustainable agriculture without the cost and extensive paperwork of the USDA program.

But certified organic farmers say alternative labels confuse consumers and dilute the strength of the organic movement.

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