Sometime in the late 1990s, the term “organic” went from fringe to every day and spawned an entire paradigm shift in the way consumers all over the globe buy and enjoy food and beverage products in every category from A(pples) to Z(ucchini) and everything in between.
In the year 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed its first federally published rule enacting the National Organic Program (NOP) with a “core mission to protect the integrity of the USDA Organic seal.”
Simply put, “organic” produce and ingredients are those that are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
The USDA NOP defines organic as follows:
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
Modern agriculture has existed for at least 10,000 years and coffee has been traced back to 17th century Ethiopia. We are guessing that organic farming was pretty much the only method of farming for thousands of years.
At LIMITLESS™ Coffee & Tea, we have recognized that for many coffee farmers in emerging markets, getting a USDA Certification is not easy, cheap, or quick. So this is why many of these farms have eschewed the process altogether – it’s a logistical and paperwork nightmare and fraught with fraud.
Imagine being a farm (any kind of farm – not just coffee) in a third-world country where you don’t have access to pesticides and even if you could, likely could not afford them. Well all you know is organic farming. It’s a way of life and the only way you know.
In August 2008, the USDA National Organic Program announced that 15 of the 30 federally accredited organic certifiers had been placed on probation for various violations of USDA organic standards.
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
So it’s our goal to work with farms that regularly use organic farming practices, who just might not have the ability to afford the manpower or bureaucracy needed to become “certified organic.”
A percentage of our time and proceeds will go towards working with these farms to get their organic certification, should they desire it for their business and also to teach them best practices from what we have seen across the world.
Because “organic” shouldn’t have to only mean a green sticker on a label. It’s more than that.