University of Vermont

UVM Fruit

Tree Fruit: Organic Basics

Practical Guide for Organic Apple Production


In 1995, the USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) defined organic agriculture as "an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony…The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people." Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier must inspect the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet the USDA organic standards. Detailed records are required and reviewed by the certifier. It takes three years of organic management before a farm product can be “certified” as organic. Please note that the labels "natural" and "eco-friendly" which have been used to describe agricultural products may imply that some organic methods were used in the production of the product, but this labeling does not guarantee complete adherence to organic practices as defined by law.

Case Studies

Last modified April 30 2014 11:10 AM