As farmers seeking to sustain the soil for all future generations, we believe that direct consumer/farmer contact with the familiarity and trust which that engenders provides a more immediate, certain and enforceable guarantee of safe, healthy food and sustainable production methods than the stamp of a third-party certifier.
For that reason, we have developed the following pledge, separate and distinct from the USDA National Organic Program, which while incorporating many of its principles extends our commitment to additional practices we believe essential to sustainable agricultural systems. The farmers of FRESH sign onto this pledge in the form of a written affidavit which we display publicly at our farms and other places of business. Our signatures commit us to letting the public, at reasonable times and with reasonable notice, inspect our farms and speak with us in order to judge our adherence to these claims.
This pledge was developed in response to the USDA’s usurpation of the term “organic” to refer only to those items produced in accord with N.O.P guidelines under third-party certification; our signatures here express our philosophical commitment to additional standards as well as to a degree of transparency not required under N.O.P., but essential to our public trust as stewards of the land and provisioners of healthy food.
As FRESH Farmers We Pledge:
- To use no synthetic or chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- To use no genetically modified crops, chemically treated seeds, synthetic toxic materials, irradiation or sewage sludge.
- To maintain and build soil fertility by use of on-farm composting, cover-crops, green manures, mulch, reduced tillage and crop-rotation.
- To allow customers open access to the farm at mutually agreed upon hours or by appointment.
- To use no irradiation, ultra-pasteurization, synthetic preservatives, or genetically modified additives in processing, and to include all ingredients on labels.
- To treat livestock humanely by providing access to the outdoors, and to pasture for ruminants; and to reject all cruel alterations motivated by confinement convenience.
- To use no hormones, GMOs, or antibiotics in animal feed except where the life of the animal is in danger, and then not to allow the meat into the public supply-chain.
- To treat our farm members and customers with respect, being duly responsive to questions, concerns and other input.
- To conserve water resources by practicing responsible irrigation and minimizing runoff on erodible lands
- To maintain idle lands in a way which harmonizes with the native biotic environment.
- To reduce the ecological footprint of our farms by conserving energy and using renewable resources
- To reduce food miles by focusing on local and regional markets.
- To support agricultural markets and infrastructures that help small farmers to thrive.
- To use ethical business practices, including treating our families and workers with respect and insuring their safety on our farms.
- To pay a fair wage to our workers, and acknowledge their freedom of association and right to collective bargaining.
- To share and develop sustainable-farming skills and knowhow.
- To encourage the distribution of unsold food to people who need it.
- To sustain and enhance the ecological and cultural integrity of the land for future generations.
While, as a grower’s guild, FRESH encourages and assists its farmer professional development, we are not a certifier and neither investigate nor guarantee member compliance with this pledge.