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In Canada, before a farm can become certified, there is a minimum three-year waiting period to give the soil time to process any chemical fertilizers and pesticides that may be left over from conventional farming. The soil and water is tested by registered organic certification agencies, and the farming is monitored closely to ensure compliance the credibility of the organic label depends on it, and farmers take it very seriously.
In the U.S., however, there are some organic certification associations that will award organic status after just one year, to help farmers make the cross-over to organic more easily. People who grow organic eat organic, and Harvey says there are some organic imports that she wont touch.
The core of all organic farming is the belief that natural foods, grown and harvested ethically, are better for the consumer and better for the environment.
The COABC definition of organic farming is that "Organic Agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony."
While this definition seems simple enough, not everyone believes that organic food is that different from conventionally farmed foods. The COABC is currently battling the B.C. Egg Marketing Board, which is attempting to force B.C.s Certified Organic egg producers to join their system and pay a levy to support it this would add about $1 to the cost of a dozen eggs and diminish what organic producers see as a huge difference between the two eggs.
One egg is laid by a chicken who has a sheltered place to nest, a place to roost and the freedom to run around an enclosure eating grubs and grass as it sees fit.
The other egg is laid by a chicken that is cooped up in a cage only slightly larger than itself, fed a diet that makes egg shells white, kept in a climate controlled building, and injected with antibiotics to keep her from getting sick.
The eggs are different in colour, size, and, once cracked, in taste and texture. The organic egg, because of the wider variety of foods ingested by the chicken, are believed to have more nutritional value.
Which one do you buy?