An Explanation of Terms

The farms are categorized with terms participants have chosen from our questionnaire. We’re not in a position to assure that the categories chosen are correct—that can be verified by a certifying agency or by the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture.

Biodynamic

Emphasizes the total farm as a holistic organism using specific sustainable practices (most fertilizers and animal food are produced on the farm). Some farms are certified, some are not, but all adhere to the same specific criteria expected of certified biodynamic growers.

Organic

Grows according to standards for organic certification, without the use of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, and without genetically engineered seeds or plants. These can be certified—maintaining records of the farm management plan with annual fees, inspections and review of practices to ensure compliance—or not certified, but all adhere to the same specific criteria expected of organic growers with the exception of record keeping, fees, inspections and reviews.

Mendocino Renegade Certification

Assures organic claims at reasonable cost to local producers and processors, with minimal paperwork. Not part of the USDA certification system, Mendocino Renegade aims to minimize the role of government and politics in organic agriculture. Transitional: Participating in the three-year process of becoming certified organic. Combination: Utilizes some biodynamic, organic practices, or natural principles, but will use conventional methods when the health of a crop or animal is endangered.

Natural

Uses growing practices that encourage a natural balance of soil fertility and animal/plant health, prevention of diseases, and decrease of insect/pest infestation. Only non-synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are used whenever the health of a crop or animal is endangered. Unlike organic certification, this category has no provision for verification.

Conventional

Uses methods that include synthetic materials (chemical fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, herbicides) to increase production and decrease labor costs, and the training and permits for using these materials. May use Integrated Pest Management to avoid unnecessary use of pesticides unless insect traps indicate a significant presence. Wild crafted/wild harvested: May have no control over the wild environment—for example, contaminants in our oceans or forests—but makes every effort to harvest a healthy product by choice of location, laboratory testing or other practices. Harvesting practices ensure continuation of the species with minimal negative impact on its habitat.

Note: The terms “organic” and “biodynamic” are now registered trademarks of the USDA National Organic Program and the Demeter Association, respectively, and may not be used unless the grower or processor is certified by one of these organizations.