Bear Butte Gardens

In addition to being USDA Organic Certified,
Bear Butte Gardens is also certified with the Real Organic Project!

USDA Organic Logo

What is the Real Organic Project?
The Real Organic Project is an additional certification and label that is in addition to USDA Organic Certification. The intention is to provide more transparency about organic farming practices for the benefit of food consumers.

The mission of the Real Organic Project is to grow people's understanding of foundational organic values and practices; crops grown in soil and livestock raised on pasture are fundamental to organic farming.

Learn more about the Real Organic Project

The USDA Organic program started off with strict regulations and standards. Over time, big industrial powers have lobbied and influenced USDA organic regulations and standards to their benefit (watered them down). The Real Organic Project was created by and for organic "purists" who believe in the original strict regulations and standards.

Organic farmers have long known that healthy soil creates nutritious food, healthy livestock & poultry, healthy people, and a healthy environment. This is the way agriculture has been for ten thousand years -- until just recently (last few generations).

There are two high-level points of distinction between USDA Organic certification and the Real Organic Project certification:

  • Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Fertile Soil
    Real Organic Project organic certification requires fruits and vegetables to be grown in soil.

    USDA organic certification now allows fruits and vegetables to be grown hydroponically. It didn't start of that way, but due to big agricultural corporation's lobbying efforts, the USDA organic certification rules have been modified to now allow hydroponics.

    The opinion of Bear Butte Gardens: We don't have a problem with hydroponics. We feel there is a place in the food industry for hydroponics. We simply don't feel hydroponics should be covered by the USDA Organic Certification process, with the same set of regulations and standards. Maybe a separate certification process should be created for hydroponics? It is a much different way of growing food, with different needs, inputs, methods, and goals.

  • Livestock and Poultry Raised on Pasture
    Real Organic Project organic certification requires livestock and poultry be raised on pasture. This means truly raised on pasture.

    USDA organic certification now allows animal confinement for dairy and poultry operations -- commonly known as CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).

    There has been a lot of word trickery used to define/describe this situation. For example, raising chickens inside an enclosed building, but providing a small door for the chickens to go outside and access a very small outdoor space if they choose. However, the chickens are unaware or afraid to use the door, so they never actually go outside -- their entire life. This is not truly raising chicken on pasture, but the USDA organic certification process allows this to occur.

Please feel free to verify our certification
Please visit the official Real Organic Project website, pull-down their "About" menu, click on the "Our Certified Farms" menu item, and search for Bear Butte Gardens.