• What does “Organic” mean?
The word “organic” has only in recent times become specifically associated with food and ingredients. Its true definition is “of, relating to, or derived from living things.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, began to place regulatory restrictions on using the term in relation to growing and processing foods. For the vast majority of its history, agriculture can be described as having been organic; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new chemicals introduced to the food supply. The popular definition has become "grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals."
• How can I use the term “Organic” on my label?
There are four different levels or categories for organic labeling:
1) 100% Organic: This means that all ingredients are produced organically. It also may have the USDA seal.
2) Organic: At least 95% or more of the ingredients are organic.
3) Made With Organic Ingredients: Contains at least 70% organic ingredients.
4) Less Than 70% Organic Ingredients: Three of the organic ingredients must be listed under the ingredient section of the label.
To legally use any of these terms, you must apply for certification by an authorized agency:
• Do I need to hire a professional?
The application process can be daunting for you as a grower or processor. I offer consultation and education on how to use methods and practices that will meet the requirements needed to obtain organic certification. Though not required, my services help clarify and streamline this process.
In order to obtain the UDSA Organic label, it is necessary to apply for certification and undergo an inspection, review, and approval by an authorized agency. I am not a certifying agent. I am approved to perform the inspection portion of the application process. When I am hired by a certifying agency to inspect and report findings, my service at this stage remains neutral and serves the certifier.
• Do you offer services for non-Certified entities?
Though organic certification has been my area of expertise, I accept and understand that it is a regulated term. Not everyone can, or wishes to undergo the required process. For those not interested in obtaining the USDA label, I offer education and consultation on natural farming methods. I do not condone the use of conventional chemical inputs and, in contrast, I offer services that promote successful farming through sustainable practices.
• What types of operations are you approved to inspect?
My training certification allows me to inspect crops, processing facilities, and apiaries.
I will soon be training to inspect livestock as well.
• Who can hire you directly to perform an inspection?
Only certifying agencies. Though I‘m approved to inspect crops and processing facilities, only a certifying agency may hire me directly to perform a certification inspection. An entity seeking organic certification may hire me directly to help interpret the organic standards, review the farm or facility, and to prepare for the inspection process. If you initiate the application for certification, the certifying agency assigns the inspector of their choice. Click below to find a certifier:
Certified Organic Inspector
I‘ve been approved to inspect crops
and processing facilities for organic
certification since 2004. On Hawaii's Big
Island, where I live, I‘ve inspected several
of the largest certified-organic operations,
as well as many smaller ones. My genuine
love for sustainable farming has fueled
my interest in fellow-farmers‘ practices.
Each farm or facility is unique, and
I am always learning along the way.
I myself worked 110 acres of a certified organic coffee farm for 7 years, where
my knowledge was put to practical
use. I truly enjoy being out in the field,
and that enthusiasm carries over into
my inspections and consultations.
I don‘t just push
papers — I
push dirt, too!
me to ask any