organic resources

Table of Contents

Basic Sources

Independent Agencies


Organic Certification

Primer on Organic Practices

Organic and Direct Marketing in the Midwest

Additional Reading

Basic Sources

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 The legislation that authorized the establishment of the NOP, the NOSB and the Standards for organic production, processing and trade.

USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
Program establishes national standards for the production and handling of organically produced products, including a National List of substances approved for and prohibited from use in organic production and handling.

National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
The board’s main mission is to assist the Secretary in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production. The NOSB also advises the Secretary on other aspects of implementing the national organic program.

Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
National nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing. OMRI Listed—or approved—products may be used on operations that are certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program.

Organic Trade Association (OTA)
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association that focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA has a special section of the website called “How to Go Organic,” a good resource for farmers, processors trying to get started.

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Part of the USDA National Agriculture Library, this site contains AFSIC Information guides, UDSA publications, and resources on organic production.

Organic Ag Information Access
An electronic collection of historic (pre 1942) USDA publications related to organic agriculture.

University Extension personnel from around the country collaborate to provide up-to-date, research-based information on organic food and farming.

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Independent Agencies

The Cornucopia Institute
A corporate watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit.

The New Farm
The Rodale Institute’s clearinghouse for regenerative agriculture and farmer-to-farmer know-how. Many pertinent articles, certifiers directory, Organic Price Index, Farm Locator, Farm Select organic vs. conventional comparison tool, classifieds, farmers forums, and Rodale Institute research.

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC)
National information resources for value-added agriculture. Topics including marketing commodities and products, industry trends, business ventures and entrepreneurship, and research results.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
Organic research and grant-making organization that also helps create organic policy and publications, most notably the National Organic Farmers’ Surveys.

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
Sponsors of the largest organic farming conference in the nation, held annually in LaCrosse, WI. Site offers conference details, publications, organic resources, and information on transitioning to organic production.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)
Seeks to assist, coordinate, and harmonize the movements toward organic standards and principles worldwide. Global membership holds international events, answers common questions, and performs outreach.

Organic Agriculture Information
The site contains searchable, scientific articles on production, economic data, research results, farmer anecdotes, certification information, transition strategies, and other subjects related to organic agriculture.

FAO at the United Nations
The site contains an accessible list of major FAO reports related to organic agriculture.

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Free, on-line web-logs on organic food and farming

Tiny Farm Blog – “organic micro-farming with two acres and some tools”

Organic Horizon – “farming’s bright future”

Organic – “get hip, go organic!”

Organic Food – commentary by Mahdi Ebrahimi

American Feast – “sustainable food blog”

The Ethicurean – “Chew the right thing”

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Organic Certification
How to” and FAQ

How to Go Organic (from the OTA)

On becoming organic
Organic certification in Illinois

Frequently asked questions
ATTRA’s Overview of Organic Crop Production
ATTRA’s National Organic Program Compliance Checklist
ATTRA’s Guide to Creating an Organic Production and Handling System Plan

Organic Ag Info

Examples of Organic Certification Applications

Global Organic Alliance, Inc.
Indiana Certified Organic
Organic Crop Improvement Association International
Oregon Tilth, Inc.

Certification Organizations Serving the Midwest

Certified Organic, Inc.
500 First St.
Keosauqua, IA 52565
Phone: (866) 581-6428

Global Organic Alliance, Inc.
P.O. Box 530
3185 Township Rd. 179
Bellefontaine, OH 43311-0530
Phone: (937) 593-1232

Indiana Certified Organic
8364 South SR39
Clayton, IN 46118
Phone: (317) 539-4317

International Certification Services, Inc.
301 5th St. SE
Medina, ND 58467
Phone: (701) 486-3578

Midwest Organic Services Association
P.O. Box 821
122 W. Jefferson St.
Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: (608) 637-2526

Organic Crop Improvement Association International
Illinois Chapter
Josephine Dobson
608 Algona St.
New London, WI 54961
Phone: (507) 450-0227

Oregon Tilth, Inc.
Midwest Office
224 State Highway 56
Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: (608) 637-8594

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A Primer on Organic Practices

The New Ag Network
National Organic Program’s Organic Production and Handling Standards Fact Sheet
ATTRA’s Overview of Organic Agriculture PDF
Economic Research Service Briefing Room on Organic Farming and Marketing
FAQs about Organic Farming from the Organic Farming Research Foundation
Transitioning to Organic SARE publications

Crop Production

NCAT’s Organic and Sustainable Practices Workbook
ATTRA’s Organic Field Crop Publications

Fruit and Vegetable Production

ATTRA’s Organic Fruit Crop Publications
ATTRA’s Organic Vegetables, Flowers, & Herbs Publications
New Farm by the Rodale Institute
Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News

Organic Seed Sources

OMRI Organic Seed Database — On-line, searchable database of organic seed sources

Seeds of Change Certified Organic — vegetables, cover crops, fruit trees, 1-888-762-7333

Harris Seeds — organic vegetable seeds, 1-800-544-7938

Great Harvest Organics — organic corn, soybean, alfalfa, wheat, (317) 984-6687,

Johnny’s Selected Seeds — organic agronomic and vegetable seeds, 1-877-564-6697

Albert Lea Seed House — some organic field, grain, forage and vegetable seeds, cover crops & seed treatments, 1-800-352-5247

Territorial Seed Company — organic veggies, herbs, novelty corn, 1-800-626-0866

Blue River Hybrids — organic field corn, alfalfa, soybean, red clover, Sudangrass, grain sorghum, 1-800-370-7979

Livestock Production

NCAT’s Organic and Sustainable Practices Workbook for Livestock Systems
ATTRA’s Organic Livestock Publications

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Organic Marketing in the Midwest
Markets & Prices

Midwest Organic Farmers Cooperative
USDA Organic Price Report
Clarkson Grain – Organic and non-GMO
The New Farm’s Organic Price Index
ATTRA Organic Marketing Resources

Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and On-Farm Sales

Chicago’s Green City Market
Farmers’ Markets Search
WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
Rules, Regulations, and Legal Information By Neil D. Hamilton

Funding Sources

ATTRA Resource List

How-to Guidebooks for Farmers’ Markets

A Guide to Starting, Operating, and Selling in Farmers Markets
Establishing and Operating a Community Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ Markets Marketing and Business Guide

Roadside Stands

Should I grow Fruits and Vegetables? Pick-Your-Own-Markets
Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism – Business Management Guide

A Guide to Illinois Laws Governing Direct Farm Marketing by Rich Schell, J.D.

Copies can be obtained from Illinois Stewardship Alliance, PO Box 648, Rochester, IL 62563, (217) 498-9707.

The Legal Guide For Direct Farm Marketing by Neil D. Hamilton

Copies can be obtained from Drake University Agricultural Law Center, Des Moines, IA 50311, (515) 271-2065

Running a Roadside Stand: Some Helpful Hints

Community Supported Agriculture

CSA Website by the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Wilson Collage, Richard Alsina Fulton Center for Sustainable Living
CSA Locator

Selling to Restaurants

The ABCs of Marketing to Restaurants by Rodale’s New Farm
Selling to Restaurants by Eric Gibson
The Fresh Connection Keeps Farmers and Chefs in Touch by Bonita Oehlke

Find an Existing Farm or Business

Local Harvest
University of Illinois MarketMaker
Illinois Farm Direct
The NewFarm Farm Locator
IDOA Illinois Food Guide

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Additional Reading

Michael Pollen

Wendell Berry

Bill McKibben

Eric Freyfogle

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One response to “organic resources

  1. Greetings! I am the Information Services Coordinator for the Organic Trade Association and noticed OTA’s website is listed in your resource list. Thank you!

    We were wondering if you could post OTA’s website focused on providing resources/materials for those transitioning from conventional to organic farming.

    We would greatly appreciate HowToGoOrganic(TM). com being listed on your website. Please let me know if you have any questions or need further information. Thank you!

    Chad Simmons
    Information Services Coordinator
    Organic Trade Association
    60 Wells Street
    PO Box 547
    Greenfield, MA 01302
    phone: 413.774.7511 x 13
    fax: 413.774.6432