USDA oversees organic farmers and businesses to make sure that organic food is produced with organic methods. Each year, organic farmers update a farm plan and complete an inspection to confirm that their practices match their records. The farmer must correct any issues to continue certification. Organic food processors meet similar requirements.
Organic farms and processors:
- Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
- Support animal health and welfare
- Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
- Only use approved materials
- Do not use genetically modified ingredients
- Receive annual onsite inspections
- Separate organic food from non-organic food
Demeter Certified 650A
What makes a farm Biodynamic®?
In order for a farm to refer to itself as Biodynamic, it must have achieved certification through Demeter by adhering to the Demeter Farm Standard for a minimum of three years if conventionally farmed, or a minimum of one year if organically farmed. The entire farm must be certified, not just a portion of land within the farm. Farms are inspected annually to ensure that the Standard is being met.
What is the Farm Standard?
The Demeter Biodynamic® Farm Standard reflects the Biodynamic principle of the farm as a living organism: self-contained, self-sustaining, following the cycles of nature. It provides the legal definition of BIODYNAMIC in the US marketplace. Sections of the Farm Standard include necessary elements of the farm organism, soil fertility management, crop protection, greenhouse management, animal welfare, and the use of the preparations. Biological diversity within the farm landscape is emphasized, and requires that a minimum of ten percent of the total farm acreage be set-aside as a biodiversity preserve. The Farm Standard is historically significant because it dates back to the beginning of the modern sustainable farming movement, and captures key agronomic principles not comprehensively addressed within any other agriculture certification system.
To learn more, click here.
The Farmers Pledge
The Farmer’s PledgeTM (PDF) is a commitment to farming that assures healthy food, strong local economies, fair working conditions and wages, humane treatment of animals, and care of the land. To further enable consumers to identify the farms they want to support with their food dollars, NOFA-NY has established The Farmer’s PledgeTM, a separate and distinct program from USDA Certified Organic. This Pledge is based on the integrity of the farmer. It serves as a bridge for consumers and farmers alike to better know the agriculturists that struggle to create healthy communities, local food security and food sovereignty.
Animal Welfare Approved
Animal Welfare Approved has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare and environmental sustainability currently in use by any U.S. farm program. Our standards have been developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management with the environment in mind. We’re one of only two labels in the U.S. that require audited, high-welfare slaughter practices, and is the only label that requires pasture access for all animals.
Covering all major farmed livestock and poultry, our standards are proven to be achievable in the vast majority of farm situations, and we update them regularly to incorporate new research or to reflect “best practice.” The basic premise of all our standards is that animals must be able to behave naturally and be in a state of physical and psychological well-being and that the way we raise our animals, the nutritional quality of the food they produce, and the impact of the farming system on the environment are all intrinsically linked. For a complete list of AWA standards, click here.
The “go-to” network linking farmers, food entrepreneurs and the Berkshire community, Berkshire Grown strives to grow a thriving regional food economy by: putting money into the pockets of local farmers and food producers through its Winter Farmers’ Markets; connecting over 160 farmers and food entrepreneurs with markets; advocating for farmers as founding member of the Mass. Coalition for Local Food and Farms; and providing business and technical assistance, workshops and mentoring to farmers and food entrepreneurs.
NYSAIS: New York State Association of Independent Schools
Voluntary association of 195 independent nursery, elementary and secondary schools enrolling over 80,000 students. It is affiliated with the National Association of Independent Schools and the New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools…Established originally to protect New York independent schools from obstructive legislation and regulation, the Association has added substantially to the range of its activities since its founding. These activities include:
- evaluation and accreditation of member schools
- professional development for faculty, administrators, and trustees
- advocacy for independent education
- legal and institutional counsel
- information on legislation, regulations, statistics, educational developments, and administrative practice
AWSNA: The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
AWSNA’s mission is to support schools through collaborative regional work, professional and resource development, accreditation, community outreach, and advocacy. The Association’s work is based on four core values. These values are:
- Evoke and develop Quality and Integrity in everything we attempt and achieve
- Promote Strength and Resourcefulness in every school community
- Foster, encourage, and support inspired Leadership and Colleagueship
- Work towards conscious and collaborative human Community and Relationships
WECAN: Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America
WECAN’s mission is to foster a new cultural impulse for the work with the young child from pre-birth to age seven. Based on an anthroposophical understanding of human development, WECAN is committed to protecting and nurturing childhood as a foundation for renewing human culture.
SSATB: Secondary School Admission Test Board
The Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB) is a nonprofit organization founded in the United States in 1957 by independent school admissions officers with three goals in mind: to provide a forum for exchange and support among admission professionals, to create an admission test for use by private independent schools, and to assist parents and students in their independent school search.
NACAC: The National Association for College Admission Counseling
An organization of more than 13,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students transitioning from secondary to postsecondary education. It includes professional school counselors, college access counselors, admission and financial aid officers and others.
The Parents League of New York
The Parents League is a New York City-based non-profit membership organization of parents and independent day and boarding schools, providing assistance to parents and schools since 1913:
- Advice to families selecting preschools and ongoing K-12 day schools, boarding schools, special needs programs and summer camps.
- Parenting and education lectures and workshops by experts in their fields, and panel presentations by admissions and financial aid directors.
- Publications including The Parents League Review and The Guide to Preschools, Let’s Play: Activities for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers and distribution of the New York Independent Schools Directory on behalf of ISAAGNY.
- Searchable online guides, including The Guide to New York and Summer in New York City.
INFRA: Independent Natural Food Retailers Association
INFRA is an association owned and governed by independent natural and organic food retailers of all sizes working together to leverage their voice in the industry. The organization’s mission statement is, “Strengthening Our Members Through Collaboration to Forge a Sustainable Future.” Core values include: a healthy sustainable America; opportunity and success for independent businesses; collaboration; innovation; integrity; transparency; and diversity.
Our Greenmarkets division is a member of GrowNYC, a hands-on non-profit that improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.