Why Organic?

whyorganic

Not only are Uncle Matt’s Organic products good for your body, but they’re also good for the planet.

Organic farming uses no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. In fact, in order to be certified organic you must be free from these materials for a minimum of three years prior to your first harvest. Organic farming results in less damage to the environment and ecosystem. From the water we drink, to the soil we farm, to the air we breathe, less contamination means a safer planet for everyone. Uncle Matt’s Organic takes pride in protecting the next generation.

Why Choose Organic?

Funny to think about it, but until the 20th Century, the question of “why choose organic” didn’t even exist; food was organic!  Beginning in the early 1900s, dramatic and simultaneous advances in biochemistry and engineering rapidly and profoundly changed farming practices and began to reshape the face of modern agriculture.

With the introduction of the tractor and synthetic fertilizers before World War II, hundreds of mechanized farm implements were made possible overnight, including the introduction of synthesized nitrogen fertilizer. Post-World War II, many farmers began to install large-scale irrigation, which helped facilitate the implementation of new chemical technologies such as ammonium nitrate and DDT.  Farms grew bigger, and synthetic implements more frequent.  This generated the kind of mass yields we see today in common crops. The era of the commercial farm was born.

As early as the 1920s, advocates of organic farming began to speak out.  Agronomists such as Lord Northbourne and F.H. King envisioned agricultural practices that promoted healthy soil through natural means. The term, “organic farming” was coined by Northbourne to describe a holistic, ecologically-balanced approach to farming.

In every decade since then, organic proponents and researchers around the world have argued, and in many cases proven, the benefits of returning to an all-natural approach to farming – entirely free of synthetic fertilizers and man-made pesticides.

To answer the “why choose organic” question, one only need look at how the developments of the last century have taken us to where we are today: a nation largely ingesting marginally-nutritious food grown who-knows-where with who-knows-what sprayed on it or injected into it.  This statement begs the next question: how do I know the food I’m buying is really organic?

Look for the Seal

In the 1980s, various farming and consumer groups began to pressure Congress for national standards in organic practices and certifications.  This led to the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), with a subsequent ruling in 2000.  Simply stated, the law ensures that all products labeled with the “Organic” seal adhere to the standards for ingredients and production methods set forth by the USDA.

OFPA created the National Organics Standards Board (NOSB) to advise and oversee all aspects of the law’s enactment.  Together with the Organic Trade Association, Congress, USDA, and accredited certifiers, the NOSB works diligently to maintain the integrity of the organic industry.

Remember, “being certified organic” is to be given our nation’s stamp of approval for meeting the stringent requirements prohibiting the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals in growing crops.  While some inputs are allowed, they come from a very concise list and are naturally-occurring materials.  For information on the list of approved inputs, visit www.USDA.gov.

Uncle Matt’s: Certified Organic for YOU

Here at Uncle Matt’s Organic, we’re proud to be certified organic and we want you, as the consumer, to have the complete assurance that when you buy Uncle Matt’s, you get USDA-certified organic quality.

We are certified through Quality Certification Services (QCS), respected as one of the best organic certifiers in the nation.  To obtain organic certification through QCS, here are the steps we take every year:

1. Written application showing an organic farm management system

2. Submit history of management practices used on farm for previous three years

3. Soil tests

4. Crop plans

5. Field history sheets

6. Records showing organic plan has or will be followed

7. Sworn and notarized affidavit verifying all information is accurate, true and complete

8. Pledge of intent to adhere to standards for 12-month certification period

9. Agree to on-site field audits by inspectors, announced and unannounced

As you can tell, it’s quite the time-consuming process!  Of course, it’s worth the effort. We know not only are we bringing our customers the healthiest, highest-quality citrus available, but we are also farming in such a way that considers the health of the environment and ecosystem as well.

One last note: beware of organic imitations. Because of the recent surge in popularity of organic products, there are many companies and products that may appear organic, but are not.  Products labeled “pesticide screened,” “eco-friendly,” or “chem-free” are not organic.   Be sure to look for proof of adhering to the organic certification rules and regulations.  When in doubt, ask to see their certification from an accredited organization!

For More Information

For more “juicy” information on organics, being certified organic or the details of U.S. organic law, visit these comprehensive and reliable websites:

www.usda.gov

www.ota.com

Rave Reviews

Just wanted you to know that your organic orange juice is the BEST OJ I’ve ever tried and I’ve been around 56 years!
Thanks for the great product and please do not change it!
— Teresa H., Cropwell, AL

Reasons to buy organic

Protect Future Generations

The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. The food choices you make now will impact your child's health in the future.

Prevent Soil Erosion

The Soil Conservation service estimated that more than 3 billion tons of topsoil are eroded from United States croplands each year. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. But in some conventional farming the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilized. As a result, American farms are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.

Protect Water Quality

Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. Despite its importance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated pesticides and some cancer causing agents contaminate the ground water in 38 states. This pollutes the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country's population.

Save Energy

Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12 percent of the county's total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the Unites States. Organic farming is still mainly based on labor intensive practices such as weeding by hand and using green manures and crop covers rather than synthetic fertilizers to build up soil. Organic produce also tends to travel fewer miles from field to table.

Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate

The EPA considers that 60 percent of all herbicides. 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides are carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an extra 1.4 million cancer cases among Americans over their lifetimes. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also be harmful to humans.

Support Small Farmers

Most organic farms are small independently owned and operated family farms. It is estimated that the Unites States has lost more 650,000 family farms in the past decade. Help small farmers: buy organic food.

Support a True Economy

Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods; conventional food prices do not reflect hidden costs borne by tax payers, including nearly $74 billion on federal subsidies in 1988. Other hidden costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean-up and environmental damage.

Promote Biodiversity

Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a ten-fold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled spartly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.

Source: Organic Trade Association