Organic Lifestyle Magazine, July 26, 2015 by Leah Edwards
What is natural or all natural? Is organic 100% organic? What about GMO-free?
Other Organic, Natural, Non GMO Labels
Because of the costs and burdens that are part of the process of pursuing official USDA organic certification, many farmers pursue other options. Alternative certifications are growing in popularity, especially among smaller farmers. Some of the more popular ones include the following:
- Certified Naturally Grown
Food Alliance Certified
The Farmer’s Pledge
OWN Association- Organic, Wildcrafted, and Natural
Certified Naturally Grown, Food Alliance Certified, and Farmer’s Pledge are grass-roots organizations that are direct alternatives to the USDA organic certification yet show that their products are free of pesticides and synthetic materials.
Nearly 500 farmers from 47 states are members of Certified Naturally Grown, a non-profit, alternative, organic certification program. This group strives to preserve high standards for organic farmers while removing the financial and logistical barriers small farmers can face with USDA certification.
Wildcrafted plants are uncultivated plants gathered from their natural habitat. Care is taken to ensure sustainability, to take no more than the plant can give, to scatter a plant’s seeds, etc. Wildcrafted is superior to organic if picked where there is no runoff from polluted water or contamination from exhaust. Unlike organic produce, wildcrafted produce is never sprayed—with anything. Wildcrafted foods are pure—as nature intended.
Wildcrafted plants grow in nature without any human involvement. The environment contains natural stressors like completing plants, fluctuations in sunlight, the availability of water, insects, and disease.
These stressors force plants to fully develop their nutrients and phytonutrients to be able to thrive in under these conditions.
The plants become more resilient, and therefore the strength of their phytonutrients increase.
More: Nutritional Guide »
There is this perspective. The body has greater chemical affinity and better recognizes wildcrafted plants because they grow naturally.
Under this perspective, wildcrafted plant would work better in reversing disease and supporting homeostasis than organically and conventionally grown plants.
Another argument for the use of wildcrafted plants is they are eco-friendly. Following wildcrafting harvesting guideline protects the plant’s environment.
Harvesting Wildcrafted Plants
Guidelines to follows when harvesting wildcrafted plants:
Never harvest an endangered species.
Do not pick immature plants.
Do not collect more than 15% of a particular in an area.
Do not harvest more plants than needed at a given time.
Do not damage surrounding plant or environment.
Never harvest plants that are close to industrialized areas or highways to avoid pollution contamination.
Do not harvest from compromised environments.
Plants seeds if the whole plants needs harvesting.
Following these guidelines will protect the environment, because it will ensure new growth that will help maintain the environment’s ecosystem.
The Non-GMO Project is a program to label products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients. They are the only independent verification organization in North America and their symbol has become well known to those people who choose to avoid GMOs.
The Non-GMO Project uses the European Union measurement to determine if a product qualifies as non-GMO under program standards. If a product is found to contain 0.9% or less of genetically modified ingredients, then it is certified as non-GMO.
The various labels, while giving consumers some amount of assurance as to the quality of the product they purchase, are confusing. The only way to truly know the quality of the food you consume is to get to know your food growers at local farmers markets, or better yet, to grow your own food.