Skip to Content


Why isn’t UGArden USDA Certified Organic?

One of the more frequent questions visitors ask
is about USDA Organic Certification.

USDA Certification is an excellent program created to insure growers follow unified guidelines for production and to protect and inform consumers eager for organic food. Like other government-run oversight programs, the certification program has its detractors and supporters.

The reasons UGArden is not certified
are both simple and complex,

and have nothing to do with the certification program itself. Certification does cost money each year to go through the inspection and approval process. Though the cost is not prohibitive, it does require time and funds that are often in short supply. Certified food has certain marketing and price advantages that are irrelevant to those living in poverty. Since most of of the produce grown at UGArden is distributed through various means (free or very low cost) to families in need in the area, there is no financial incentive to spend the extra time and expense to become certified. The third, and probably most important reason UGArden is not certified, is based on the simple belief that food should be grown with careful attention to the future of the global environment. The staff at UGArden believe deeply in organic methods and fully support the production of food using organic methods as a means to safeguard the environment for our children, however, we also recognize it is not always possible, or affordable for both grower and consumer.

We choose to adhere to
certified organic practices
because we believe in it and we can.

We choose to avoid labels and stay out of the arguments for and against organic farming because we have better things to do with our time.