What do we mean when we say…
*Please note that many of these terms do not have legal definitions and may hold different meaning to different people. We encourage you to ask your local farmers or retailers for details about the foods they grow and sell.
Antibiotic Free: Animals were raised without the use of any antibiotics. Over 22 billion pounds of antibiotics were sold for use in the livestock industry in 2017 according to the FDA 2017 Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals.
Animal Welfare Approved: Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) is a label that guarantees animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives on an independent farm using sustainable, high-welfare farming practices. It is the only label in the U.S. to require audited, high-welfare production, transport and slaughter practices. Many other terms such as "natural" do not have any legal backing, Animal Welfare Approved is considered one of the highest standards for livestock stewardship.
Certified Biodynamic: The Demeter Biodynamic Farm Standard is a comprehensive organic farming method that requires the creation and management of a closed system minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself.
Certified Naturally Grown: Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) offers peer-review certification to farmers, ranchers and beekeepers producing food for their local communities by working in harmony with nature, without relying on synthetic chemicals or GMOs.
Certified Organic: Farms, Ranches and Processors that have been inspected and certified by a third party agency to the USDA’s National Organic Program Standards. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. To verify if a farm or processor is certified, consumers can search the Organic Integrity Database.
Conventional Agriculture: Also known as industrial agriculture, refers to a farming system that may have all or some of the following characeristics: large capital investments for production, high-use of external energy inputs, single crops/row crops grown continuously over many seasons, extensive use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other continual inputs, and gentically modified organisms (GMOs). This definition is based on how the USDA describes conventional agriculture.
Corn Free: Animals do not receive corn in their feed or supplements.
CSA: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.
Free range: Raised with free access to outdoor areas with vegetation to forage, in contrast to common practices in industrial agriculture, where animals are often raised in confined and/or overcrowded spaces.
Corn Finished: Animals, usually cattle, who are fed corn before slaughter. Some producers raise their animals on pasture but then feed them grain for a certain amount of time before slaughter. Grain can make the meat fattier and creates the taste most people are currently accustomed to.
Grass Fed: Animal’s needs are met by grass and forage, they are not fed grain. Animals are moved through numerous paddocks, spreading manure in a biologically sound manner.
Heritage: Breeds carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture. Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites.
Heirloom: Heirloom fruits and vegetables are typically defined as varieties that have been handed down for generations in a particular region or area, and hand selected by farmers and gardeners for special traits- usually flavor, color, uniqueness and the ability to thrive in site specific conditions. They are open-pollinated, meaning they’re pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention.
Hormone Free: Hormones are used to increase the rate of weight gain, increase the rate at which animals convert feed into muscle and fat and for reproductive purposes. Hormone free animals are not administered any added hormones.
IPM: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to pest management that relies on current comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. IPM focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. In IPM, using pesticides may be an option.
Non- GMO: GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, and refers to plants, animals or other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally. A Non-GMO claim on food suggests that all ingredients were derived from plants, animals or other organisms whose genetic material has not been artificially altered in a laboratory. In the case of meat, this claim usually means the animals were not fed GMO crops such as GMO corn or soy and feed supplements.
Pasture Raised: A ‘Pasture Raised’ claim on meat, poultry, dairy or eggs means that the animals were raised for at least some portion of their lives on pasture or with access to pasture, not continually confined indoors.
Soy Free: Animals do not receive soy in their feed or supplements.
Sustainable: A holistic method of agriculture production and distribution that strives to be ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just- a system capable of maintaining productivity indefinitely.
Transitional Organic: Referring to a production system which follows organic management practices, but has not yet fulfilled time requirements to be certified organic. Land must be free from prohibited materials for a minimum of three years to be eligible for certification.
Value Added Products: A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam). The production adds more value to the product. Examples: Apples made into apple cider, cabbage made into sauerkraut, fresh herbs made into a dried tea blend.