Certified Organic vs. Sustainable Farms

Farms that are listed in this guide are either certified organic by a statewide or national agency, or practice organic methods but have chosen not to be formally certified.

Farms listed as certified organic have been independently certified by an organic certification agency.

Farms that are not certified organic must have affirmed their commitment to the NOFA/Mass Sustainability Pledge.

All farmers affiliated with such operations have affirmed the following NOFA/Mass Sustainability Pledge:

I have raised my food without genetically modified (GM) seed or sewage sludge on land free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for at least three years. My livestock have access to pasture out-of-doors, are raised without antibiotics, artificial hormones, or synthetic parasiticides and receive either 100% organic feed or feed that has been raised sustainably, as defined by the first sentence of this pledge.

Just as a whole farm, part of a farm, or only a single crop may be certified organic, in some cases only part of a farm meets the NOFA/Mass sustainability standards. In both scenarios, we have tried as much as possible to highlight only the parts of a farm that are either certified organic or sustainable.

At NOFA/Mass, our philosophy is that the best way to understand what practices a grower uses is to talk to the farmer. When you shop at farmers’ markets, visit a farm stand or pick up your CSA share, ask questions about the grower’s operation. Get to know your farmer!