Original article appeared in The Lockeland Springs Neighborhood Association June/July 2010 Newsletter on page 5

Organic Questions and Answers

by Irucka Embry

I have heard many people ask various questions about what it means to be “organic” and the following is a list of 4 of the most asked questions:

1) What is organic?

In chemistry, it refers to a substance that contains Carbon. 1

In horticulture, a certified organic farm and/or garden keeps and restores the fertility of the soil ecosystem without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Furthermore, certified organically produced foods must be grown or raised without the use of antibiotics, cloned animals and/or their products, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, irradiation, sewage sludge, and/or synthetic hormones. 2

Therefore, all organisms involved in the agricultural, including horticultural, processes are organic substances.

2) How do you know if a food, product, and/or seed is certified organic?

A certified organic food, product, and/or seed will contain the “USDA Organic” or another approved label and it will also include the name of the organic certifier. 3

3) Why purchase certified organic food, products, and/or seeds?

Purchasing certified organic goods ensures the continuation of the organic agricultural industry, especially when you buy your goods from local suppliers. It also allows you to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including genetically modified (GM) food. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) released their Genetically Modified Foods Position Paper on May 19, 2009, which, in part, asked doctors to educate their patients, the rest of the medical community, and the public on avoiding GM foods due to their probable harm. 4

4) What advice can you offer?

The following steps, along with others, will enhance the health of the garden ecosystem:

What other questions do you have?



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Schubert, Leo and Veguilla-Berdecia, Luis A. Chemistry and Society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1972.


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Organic Trade Association (OTA): Quick Overview of Organic Agriculture and Production [Recovered with the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine]

An additional useful resource is Organic Trade Association (OTA): Organic 101

As the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “organic” label has become almost meaningless over the years, I have added the following 2 links to this article:

EcoC²S Online Resources: Beyond Organic Agriculture to Authentic Organic Agriculture, Regenerative Agriculture, and Beyond

A Way To Garden: what does organic mean? with linley dixon of the real organic project


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The American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls For Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods, May 19, 2009

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM): Genetically Modified Foods Position Paper

Irucka Embry, EcoC²S Principal, wrote this article. Information on ecological gardening and other provided services can be found online @ https://www.ecoccs.com/services.html.

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