Organics: What consumers should to know

Where can you find organic foods?

There are two basic sources that can be used when attempting to purchase organic foods. You can either contact a certified grower directly or you can visit any local distributor (supermarket or farmers markets).

One of the best sources to find out about organic food is to contact the farmer. Organic foods need to be certified. Certified organic foods are considered agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to strict uniform standards and verified annually by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspection of farm fields and processing facilities. Farm practices inspected include long-term soil management, buffering between organic farms and any neighboring conventional farms, product labeling and record keeping. Processing inspections include review of the facility's cleaning and pest control methods, ingredient transportation and storage and record keeping and audit control.

Each state contains certified organic growers and/or a certifying agency. One of the biggest and most involved certifying agencies can be found in Florida. This agency is called Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. They are a nonprofit, grass-roots organization, that links consumers with organic growers and disseminate information to the general public regarding organic and sustainable farming. Below I have listed a few certified entities in my area (northern Florida). If you would like to get more information on organic certification and/or sources of organic product you should visit the FOG Web site.

Furthermore, if you do not want to go out of your way to contact the farmer directly, you can find their product at supermarkets or farmer's markets. There are more than 2,863 farmer's markets operating in the Unites States. Farmer's markets benefit many different areas, such as small farm operators, farmers and consumers and the community. For more information on the benefits of farmer's markets you can check out the USDA Web site.

Govinda's Garden
Contact: Bill Ogle or Bill Allin
9111 N.W. 22nd Ave.
Alachua, FL 32615
Ph: (904) 462-7263
Fax: (904) 462-0461
50 acres of assorted vegetables and grains

Blumenberry Farms
Contact: Mitch Blumenthal
2151 Dog Kennel Road
Sarasota, FL 34240
Ph: (863) 371-8538
Fax: (863) 952-1198
10 arces of blueberries, mixed fruits and vegetables

Mr. Citrus Organics, Inc
Contact: Lynn Steward
1548 S.W. Addison Ave.
Arcadia, FL 34266
Ph: (863) 494-1095
Fax: (863) 494-2655
14.5 arces of temples, tangerines, and vegetable

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