Why Buy MOFGA Certified Organic?
It's Maine AND Organic!
MOFGA-certified organic is the best of both worlds. These products are Maine-raised and/or produced AND certified organic. Local AND organic! Local tells you where your food is produced, and organic tells you HOW it is produced. Why should you buy local AND organic?
MOFGA-certified organic producers support Maine's local economies and rural communities. Recent research by the Organic Trade Association, in partnership with Penn State, revealed that "organic hotspots" – counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity that have neighboring counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity – boost household incomes and reduce poverty levels at rates greater than general agricultural activity and than major anti-poverty programs. The map below shows the number of organic hotspots in Maine – a hotspot for hotspots! Plus, on average organic farms create 21% more jobs than conventional farms.
|A map produced by the Organic Trade Association, in partnership with Penn State, showing "organic hotspots" – counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity
|Map of Maine's certified organic producers in 2016
Organic agriculture reduces the amount of toxic chemicals in our environment and in our bodies. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in the United States, which equates to billions of pounds used annually and approximately 16 pounds used per person each year. According to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel, "It is estimated that only 0.1 percent of applied pesticides reach the target pests." The bulk (99%) of applied pesticides and herbicides can pollute our waterways and farmland, reduce biodiversity and result in pests developing resistance to the applied chemical. Organic agriculture does not permit the use of synthetic chemical pesticides or herbicides. Most of the pesticides that are allowed in organic are derived from natural products, are low in toxicity and break down rapidly.
Research suggests organic products are also healthier for people! In 2014 an international team of researchers suggested that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could offer the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended "five a day." They found "statistically significant, meaningful" differences, with a range of antioxidants being "substantially higher" – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. Additionally, children fed diets of primarily organic food demonstrated a large or complete reduction in pesticides found in their urine.
Certified organic farmers preserve pollinator habitat, promote biodiversity and build healthy soil. Organic farmers use specific practices, such as cover cropping, crop rotation, composting and, often, diverse crop mixes (not monocultures), that protect soil and water quality while enhancing biodiversity. These practices support soil health, preventing erosion and runoff, and often sequester carbon and nutrients in the soil.
Organic food cannot be produced with genetically modified organisms (often called GMOs). Organic farmers do not use GMO seeds, plants, or animal feeds, and organic processed foods are not made with GMO ingredients. Many GMO crops are engineered to survive glyphosate spraying. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and some other herbicides. In 2015, glyphosate was classified as a "probable carcinogen to humans," by cancer experts at the World Health Organization. The best way to avoid GMOs and glyphosate residues in the United States is to buy organic.
Certified organic livestock are produced humanely, without synthetic antibiotics or added growth hormones. Organic meat and dairy cannot be raised with synthetic antibiotics or added growth hormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH, also called rBST). Additionally, organic livestock farmers ensure that their animals have access to the outdoors and room enough to move, graze and develop in a manner that supports their natural behavior. Organic certification also means that these farmers cannot feed their animals GMO grains. To ensure your animal protein comes from animals that were happy and healthy, buy organic!
Organic certification assures integrity and transparency through rigorous third-party inspections. Most certified organic farmers and producers follow organic practices because they are passionate about them and because these practices align with their values and philosophy. Did you also know that the word "organic" is federally regulated? Before a producer can start selling foods labeled as organic, a third-party inspector must visit the business and ensure that organic practices are being followed. The federal government must accredit the certifier, such as MOFGA Certification Services LLC in Maine. Certified organic producers must keep careful records of their practices and are inspected annually to ensure compliance with federal organic standards. Today’s marketplace features an abundance of labels, such as "all natural" and "naturally grown." Certified organic is one of the few that involves an independent, third-party verified process.
View or download our Buy Organic publications
MOFGA has assembled the following Marketing Toolkits for using in outreach to businesses that could source more local AND organic products. It includes FAQ's about organic agriculture, trends in the organic market, accessible infographics, and information about the services MOFGA can provide. Please feel free to utilize this information in any way that may be helpful to you. These toolkits were made available at the 2016 Maine Grocer and Food Producers Summit and will also be mailed directly to 250+ Maine businesses. It is our intention to also produce a version specifically oriented to certified farmers by the end of 2016.
Marketing Toolkit Introductory Letter
Frequently Asked Questions
Trends in Organic Agriculture
Trends in Organic Production
Wholesale Farmer Profiles
Why Consumers Choose Organic