What is Organic Farming?

What is organic farming from Mayo Clinic

The word “organic” means the way farmers grow and process farming (agricultural) products. These products include fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to meet the following goals:

  • Improve soil and water quality
  • Cut pollution
  • Provide safe, healthy places for farm animals (livestock) to live
  • Enable natural farm animals’ behavior
  • Promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on a farm

Materials or methods not allowed in organic farming include:

  • Artificial (synthetic) fertilizers to add nutrients to the soil
  • Sewage sludge as fertilizer
  • Most synthetic pesticides for pest control
  • Using radiation (irradiation) to preserve food or to get rid of disease or pests
  • Using genetic technology to change the genetic makeup (genetic engineering) of crops, which can improve disease or pest resistance, or to improve crop harvests
  • Antibiotics or growth hormones for farm animals (livestock)

Organic crop farming materials or practices may include:

  • Plant waste left on fields (green manure), farm animals’ manure or compost to improve soil quality
  • Plant rotation to keep soil quality and to stop cycles of pests or disease
  • Cover crops that prevent wearing away of soil (erosion) when sections of land aren’t in use and to plow into soil for improving soil quality
  • Mulch to control weeds
  • Insects or insect traps to control pests
  • Certain natural pesticides and a few synthetic pesticides approved for organic farming, used rarely and only as a last choice and coordinated with a USDA organic certifying agent

Organic farming practices for farm animals (livestock) include:

  • Healthy living conditions and access to the outdoors
  • Pasture feeding for at least 30% of farm animals’ nutritional needs during grazing season
  • Organic food for animals
  • Shots to protect against disease (vaccinations)

What do the four different organic labels mean? (from USDA website)

What do the four different organic labels mean? 

“100 Percent Organic”

  • Used to label any product that contains 100 percent organic ingredients (excluding salt and water, which are considered natural)
  • Most raw, unprocessed or minimally processed farm crops can be labeled “100 percent organic”
    • PDP: May include USDA organic seal and/or 100 percent organic claim
    • IP: Identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark


  • Any product that contains a minimum of 95 percent organic ingredients (excluding salt and water)
  • Up to 5 percent of ingredients may be nonorganic agricultural products and/or nonagricultural products on the National List (nonorganic agricultural products and several nonagricultural products on the National List may only be used if they are not commercially available as organic)
    • PDP: May include USDA organic seal and/or organic claim
    • IP: Identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark

“Made with Organic ______”

  • Product contains at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding salt and water), with a number of detailed constraints regarding ingredients that comprise the nonorganic portion
    • PDP: May state “made with organic (insert up to three ingredients or ingredient categories)”; must not include USDA organic seal anywhere, represent finished product as organic, or state “made with organic ingredients”
    • IP: Identify organic ingredients (e.g., organic dill) or via asterisk or other mark

Specific Organic Ingredient Listings

  • Specific organic ingredients may be listed in the ingredient statement of products containing less than 70 percent organic contents—for example, “Ingredients: water, barley, beans, organic tomatoes, salt.”
    • PDP: Must not include USDA organic seal anywhere or the word “organic”
    • IP: May only list certified organic ingredients as organic in the ingredient list and the percentage of organic ingredients; remaining ingredients not required to follow the USDA organic regulations

Bean health benefits

Bean can help manage your sugar levels, increase energy, and even help prevent certain cancers

Beans for Blood Sugar Management

Beans boast a low glycemic index and contain complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly. These facts make beans a good choice for people needing to keep their blood sugar in the normal range.

Beans for Energy and Vitality

A nutrient-rich food, beans contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, phosphorous, copper and magnesium. The lean protein in beans helps maintain and promote muscle while beans’ complex carbohydrates provide a sustained energy source.

Beans for Pregnancy and Healthy Babies

Folate, a vitamin very important for pregnant women and their unborn babies, is found in beans. During pregnancy, women need more folate. Expectant mothers who consume enough of the right nutrients can help reduce the risk of birth defects.