By Sofie Wicklund for River Moon Wellness
River Moon coffee is officially USDA Certified Organic through Nature’s International Certification Services. Although the coffee we’ve all been drinking from River Moon has always been pure and treated with organic practices, the newly official United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label will help our favorite roastery extend its reach to a wider audience of coffee lovers and continue to promote those good, wholesome brews.
The word “organic” is often a buzzword of today’s culinary conversations, but the term itself has real regulatory weight in the USDA. So, what does it really mean to be certified organic? Well, first and foremost, the USDA looks for three key components. At their core, “organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances”.
Becoming certified organic is an extensive process. While the effort involved means that it requires a lot of work for small businesses to pursue the certification, it also means that once the certification is achieved, it is highly credible. Certifying agents use tools to verify that organic operations–from the farmers to the processors–aren’t using prohibited substances, which include most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, growth hormones, irradiation, and genetic engineering (GMOs). This comes in the form of annual on-site inspections and periodic residue testing so that consumers can always be sure their product is safe and healthy.
There are countless benefits to being, as well as supporting, an organic operation. The environmental benefits are manifold when compared to conventional methods. Keeping synthetic materials out of our soil, water and air is crucial for the health of all living things and diminishes the impact of climate-change-causing pollutants. According to the USDA, research shows that organic farming practices can improve water quality, conserve energy, increase biodiversity, and contribute to soil health. Our personal and public health is directly tied to the health of our natural ecosystems, and thus we benefit greatly from organic farming and processing methods. In addition, when we consume organic products, we are not at as high a risk of harmful health effects caused by synthetic pesticide residue.
Protecting the health of our ecosystems, our bodies, and our communities seems like a no-brainer, right? That’s why we should continue to support organic businesses. Consumer support goes a long way. The USDA says it itself: “organic agriculture is a fast-growing sector in U.S. agriculture, creating jobs and promoting economic growth and opportunities”. There are currently more than 22,000 certified organic farms and businesses in the U.S., and that number is continuing to grow as consumer demand for organic products grows. Becoming certified organic helps businesses to support their local economies while simultaneously protecting the health of the local and global community. By supporting River Moon coffee, we are all contributing to the growth of the organic movement and the benefits it holds.