The USDA announced new data this week about the growing number of organic farms around the country. There are now almost 22,000 organic operations, thanks in part to a 12-percent bump last year. Indiana added 81 organic farms in 2015.
The White Violet Center for Eco-Justice is one of those farms. Its 5 acres on the campus of St. Mary-of-the-Woods in west-central Indiana is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence. Garden manager Candace Minster said they have always used organic growing techniques, but USDA certification was the only way to secure a premium price for their high-quality produce:
When you are selling your organically grown produce wholesale, you need to be able to prove you are indeed using organic methods in order for a buyer to pay that organic premium. And, without being able to say we were certified, when we would do a few wholesales, we were getting pretty much just a conventional rate for that product, even though was indeed organic.
I spoke with Minster last year as they were starting to sell their USDA certified organic produce.
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