Green Acre has taken on a new name and a new look! When we created the Green Acre farm, our intention was to become a certified Organic farm as we thought that we needed Organic certification to secure higher prices for our product. However as our farm and our relationship with our community evolved, it quickly became apparent that we had established a great reputation as the aquaponic farm growing all natural, clean, chemical free produce that provided just as much value locally as a USDA certified organic seal.
Because we were not selling through distributors, we didn't need to secure Organic certification to insure higher wholesale prices. Our market was local chefs, our buying club members and the regular faces at the farmers markets. Why would we want to get certified and have to charge our customers more? Our customers didn't want it and neither did we. At Green Acre, we have always said that we don't think people should have to be wealthy to eat healthy. Our produce sells for more than conventional and less than Organic. Its what we call the "sweet spot" and helps us achieve our mission of supplying better priced, clean, chem free foods to our community.
However, about a month ago, right in the middle of our Green Acre Aquaponic Farming - The Complete Course we learned that a competitor had filed a complaint with the USDA's National Organic Board. We were being investigated for falsely marketing our produce as certified organic due to the following statement on our website about our buying club. It said, "We guarantee that your Harvest basket will be filled 100% with either naturally grown, chem free or USDA certified Organic fruits and veggies!" The complaint said as a result of this statement, we were claiming our produce was certified. We were not. We designated our produce as aquaponically and naturally grown and chemical free, not organic. In fact, our labeling even reflected that. The USDA certified produce we were referring to was the certified produce we purchase and resell to our buying club, our chefs and also at the farmers market. We provide diverse crops that we can't grow like potatoes and mushrooms or apples at a better price then is
available locally and our chef partners benefit from getting to purchase partial cases. Its been a win-win for us and our clientele.
Green Acre has since been cleared of the allegations and the case was closed. One of the things we had to do was change our name in order to comply; hence, Green Acre Aquaponics. We love our new name, our new logo and our new look so switching over really wasn't a big deal. In addition though, we can no longer advertise that we sell certified Organic produce. The NOB and federal code states that we must either be a certified Organic "handler", exempt as a retailer or our farm and produce must be Organic certified. Although we thought we were exempt as a retailer, our operation does not fall within the criteria for being retail, so we are looking in to obtaining both types of certifications, which would mean pursuing certification for a media/DWC hybrid type system. We will be sure to keep you informed!
Our new website is at www.greenacreaquaponics.com where you can join our mailing list to keep up with the latest Green Acre news. You can also now email me at email@example.com.
We are Green Acre Aquaponics.