Real Organic certification focuses on whole farm health

Real Organic certification focuses on whole farm health

You may have seen the blue, green and white dot and wondered what that means. For the last two years, Frog Hollow Farm has been certified by Real Organic Project, a movement that has a different standard than the United States Department of Agriculture. Real Organic Project certification is an additional certification to our California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) certification.

The dirt

Healthy, fertile soil has been the cornerstone of the organic farming movement since the 1990s. Today, the USDA certifies organic farms like Frog Hollow Farm, and it also certifies farms that grows food hydroponically in containers. Real Organic Project’s view is that farms growing food hydroponically are not maintaining or regenerating the soil according to original USDA organic standards. In their eyes, USDA standards have degraded. So in 2018, a group of farmers created their own standard that certifies food as “real organic” when it’s grown in soil that farmers are maintaining and improving over time.

“A lot of the work we are doing is to create transparency,” says Ariel Pressman, Director of Certification at Real Organic Project. “We want people to understand how their food is produced, so they can make their own decisions.”

Whole farm view

When Real Organic Project inspectors visited us two years ago, they looked at the totality of life on Frog Hollow Farm. 

  • Soil health: Real Organic Project was impressed by our regenerative farming efforts, like composting and cover crops, that keep our soil and orchards healthy. 

  • Biodiversity: We nurture life below ground – our soil is home to billions of microbes. We also cultivate life above ground with cover crops that attract pollinators and predatory insects. 

  • Our farm teams. Sadly, mistreatment is common in farming. That’s why Real Organic Project has a worker welfare standard. They inspected our farm worker housing, interviewed our farmworkers, and ensured people were being treated legally on the farm before they certified us.

“We are trying to create the world that we actually want to live in,” says Pressman.

We have that same goal at Frog Hollow Farm. We’re creating an ecosystem that nurtures life in the soil and cares for the people who work the land. And we’re proud to be a part of the Real Organic Project’s roster of farms that are working together for the greater good. 

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