The National Organic Standards Board developed an official definition for organic in 1995: “Organic agriculture is an ecological production managment system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on managment practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony”. Regulated by federal law, overseen by USDA National Organic Program; producers must be certified by an accredited certified state, non-profit or private agencies that have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In Italy, standards for certified organic food & wine products are regulated by ICEA, The Environmental and Ethical Certification Institute. The consortium controls & certifies companies that carry out their activities in respect for people & the environment, defending workers dignity & the consumers rights. ICEA organic certification is the first certification “from farm to fork”, it requires the traceability of raw materials & the finished product, guaranteeing product’s quality & consumers protection. ICEA certification committees operate on a local, regional & national level, assuring produce & food are high quality & wholesome. ICEA certification is compliant with EU regulation & the USDA requirements & standards. The ICEA logo is a guarantee of reliability for all organic products. In regards to organic wine, ICEA certification requires very low sulphites limits, wines certified by ICEA are produced in cellars with low environmental impact.
In layperson terms this means food products are cultivated & produced according to strict guidelines & production standards, without the use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers with respect for the sustainability of the earth & the environment.
Simply stated, organics are better for people & the envrionment. Food forms the building blocks of our bodies & our health, soil forms the basis for healthy food. Healthy soil grows quality food & quality food means better health, along with improved overall wellness. Organic food is not a passing fad, rather it is a path to a healthier, more sustainable life. People do not need not give up good taste in order to eat healthily, both can thrive together.
What Are Organic Grapes?
Like other organic fruits, vineyards are treated with cow or sheep manure & other compost materials. Instead of spraying chemical insecticides & synthetic fertilizers, biodiversity is used by growing plants in & around the grape vines. This regulates the vineyard soil & keeps it healthy by adding naturally occurring mineral rich plants & “beneficial” insects, spiders & predatory mites. Cover crops planted between the grape plants leave no harmful residue in the soil yet provide shelter, food-pollen & nectar, to the “beneficial” insects replacing the need for insecticides or fertilizers. Grass & weeds grow freely, are cut back periodically & then left to rot back into the soil, providing organic fertilizer.
Sustainable Agriculture & Farming
The word “sustain,” originates from the Latin verb sustinere (sus-, from below and tenere, to hold), to keep in existence or maintain, it implies long-term support or permanence. Sustainable agriculture, is a farming system capable of maintaining its’ productivity & usefulness to society indefinitely. Such farming systems must protect the environment, public health, humans & animal welfare. Sustainable agriculture enables farmers to produce healty food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same.
Biodynamic Agriculture & Farming
Based on the philosophy of the Austrian philosopher & scientist Rudolf Steiner who lived at the turn of the century, Biodynamic farming meets organic standards, it goes further as it considers the soil a living entity with biological activity & rhythms. Biodynamic farming coordinates with the cycles of the sun, moon, planets & stars. The belief is that these elements & their sequences help create optimal conditions for crops & soil to thrive.