Seattle Tilth farm has three educational farms that grow abundant fruits, vegetables and berries and yet leaves a lot of space for pastures for grazing animals. The farms have been certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
These farms have a lot of area and the only thing lacking was an organic certification. The farm started talking to WSDA about a possible organic certification back in 2014. Due to the way people work on these farms, the certification process took a lot longer than expected. For many workers, it was something entirely new. But finally, Tilth’s have obtained the certification as we enter the last quarter of 2015.
After submitting the application for our three sites in May 2015, WSDA inspected the farms and record keeping systems in August. The multi-site certification required Seattle Tilth staff and farmers to work closely with WSDA inspectors to create a cohesive systems plan.
“From production inputs to marketing outlets, our team worked diligently through the process. Considering our situation was fairly complex, the process went surprisingly smoothly and quickly,” said Seattle Tilth Farm Works Manager Matthew McDermott. “The whole process was a bountiful learning experience for the farmers, staff and inspectors alike.”
Final notification of the certification arrived in late October after making a few improvements to our record keeping systems.
Despite using organic systems for meat and egg production, those items were not included in the certification this round. If we continue producing eggs and meat in the future, we’ll pursue certification then.
Seattle Tilth farm and garden sites have always used organic practices – in fact that’s the centerpiece of our education programs, growing food in a way that supports a healthy ecosystem. However, we have only been selling produce for a few years with the recent addition of our new farming and distribution programs, thus prompting the pursuit of organic certification.
WSDA’s formal recognition lends legitimacy to Seattle Tilth Produce, creating new market opportunities for the fruits, vegetables and pasture grown by Seattle Tilth.
McDermott explains, “Organic certification provides a set of farm guidelines that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Overall, the farm systems and farm business are better off because of the organic certification.”
Read full article at http://seattletilthblog.org/