When synthetic pesticides were introduced to agriculture in the 1940s they were hailed as miracles and as lifesaving solutions to critical public health problems. Because they could clear foliage and destroy disease bearing insects, they were used during World War II to protect troops from malaria. The scientist who first developed DDT for use as a pesticide won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1948.
The new technology of chemical biocides was initially so successful it was quickly adopted after the war for agricultural and other peacetime domestic uses. But the miracle had darker side, and it became apparent that precautions were being overlooked in the rush to embrace pesticides. Not only did insects and weeds develop resistance so that ever more increasingly powerful chemicals became necessary to get the same results, but the destructive power of pesticides was indiscriminate, killing wildlife and degrading once healthy ecosystems in addition to targeted insects and plants. Pesticide use in the US increased tenfold from 1945 to 1989, yet total crop loss from pests nearly doubled in that period from 7 percent to 13 percent.
In the early 70's organic activists across the nation began forming regional groups and creating organic standards by which to certify farmers. By the mid 70's these regional groups such as Oregon Tilth, the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, California Certified Organic Farmers and Organic Crop Improvement Association began articulation standards and processes and acting as third-party verifiers of these standards. Though the standards of these agencies were more alike than different and provided consumers with a system of knowing "if it's really organic," it was time to take steps to create a single, unified national organic standard. Otherwise the term organic would lose all meaning and would end up as just another marketing term such as "natural."
The Organic Foods Production Act passed by Congress and signed into law in 1990 mandated this standard. One unifying set of standards now defines the organic label, whether it's used on processed foods, fresh foods, meat, poultry, cotton, dairy, or coffee. All those involved in the production of products labeled organic must be certified by a recognized certifying authority and must be inspected by an independent third party inspector to verify all standards are being met. Kaladi Brothers air-roasted coffee has been certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA #16370) as an organic coffee roasting facility. When you buy air-roasted coffee that is labeled certified organic from Kaladi Brothers Coffee, you can be assured that this air-roasted coffee meets all the standards set by the national Organic Foods Production Act.
Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It is an ecological system of management that t its core relies on a healthy rich soil to produce strong plants that resist pests and diseases. Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic and persistent chemicals in favor of more "earth friendly" practices that work in harmony with nature and preserve biological diversity. An audit trail must document that organic and non-organic products are not commingled any-where in the chain from farmer to consumer. A copy of this document, known as a Transaction Certificate, follows the coffee beginning at the farm all the way to the Kaladi Brothers Coffee air-roaster.
Organic farmers use a variety of techniques to build healthy soil and to grow a diversity of crops. Organic practices include:
Planting shade trees over coffee adds nutrients to the soil, prevents weeds and increases organic matter to feed soil microorganisms. Soil with high organic matter resists erosion and holds water better. Additionally, a diverse cover of shade trees provides valuable habitat for migratory bird species and creates a more natural environment for other valuable animal species.
Many insects are highly beneficial in preying on pests and helping farm ecosystems eliminate the need for chemical insecticides that can remain in the soil for years or leach into the ground water.
Manure, processed for safety according to strict guidelines and composted plant wastes help the soil retain moisture and nutrients. Just as falling leaves fertilize forest soil composted manures and plant material replenish the farm soil.
When you buy organic coffee, be sure they are "certified organic." Only certified organic coffee is 100% organically grown and processed and possess documentation proving the authenticity.
It may be helpful to think of "certified organic" as a process, not a product. The certified organic label indicates how the product was grown and processed: under an organic system of ecological management. A system that is good for you, good for the farmers and good for the planet.