Organic vs. Organic?

As someone who both loves to garden, and also completely believes it is important to only feed my family organic produce, I’ve noticed that the word is used in VERY different ways.

When I am shopping for food for example, an organic sticker (while I do worry about what they used to stick it to the produce) is comforting. It means that what I’m buying is not GMO, and it was not chemically altered in it’s formation with pesticide or fertilizer. I like this and it is worth it to buy what I’m not able to grow for myself for whatever reason because I want my family to be healthy.


When I am shopping for soil, or compost, I’ve noticed that it means something completely different. For example I buy local compost, it is cultured locally out of the food and yard waste that are donated by myself and my neighbors ‘organically’. However, I know that I have neighbors who use chemicals in their yards, and also neighbors who buy, consume, and throw away parts of food conventionally raised with whatever they use to make it conventionally.

So technically, doesn’t that mean that whatever they put in their yard, their food waste, etc. that goes into the compost that I’m using, make my garden NOT organic? What about the organic farms that are using their “organic” soil? I am pretty sure they don’t do anything too extreme to get the chemicals out of the food/yard waste prior to composting. It bothers me though that I don’t have any idea how much it is impacting my home garden.

I choose to believe that the nutritious parts of the compost and the quality of the seeds I buy are meaningful and make it so that the produce that comes out of my garden is at least as organic as the produce with the stickers on it….but is it?

I’m looking forward to being able to make more of my own compost so that I can further monitor what goes into it. I can only obsess so much about this stuff. I do have a hard time with the compost being labelled as organic, because it really isn’t organic the way that organic has been used in our stickers or else we’d have to be a lot more careful about what we put in those bins.

About Kristin

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