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White Violet Center, A Case For USDA Organic Certification

crops in hoop house

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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