Small Scale Organics: A Guidebook for the Non-certified Organic Grower

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Includes Guidelines and an Organic System Plan

If you are an organic grower and you sell less than $5,000 of organic products (raw or processed) each year, certification is optional. Should you choose not to become certified, you must still meet the requirements of the National Organic Standard. [§205.101(a)] However, if you are exempt, your operation is probably small. Many of the details in the National Standard do not apply to you.

This quick assessment tool covers the main issues and factors that will tell you whether your small farm or market garden meets the Federal requirements and you may sell your produce or other products as organic. It does not substitute for the rigorous inspection and review process of organic certification. Still, it should give you a pretty good idea whether you can legally call your operation and your produce “organic.”


  • Part I Organic Farming: Definitions and Issues
    • Federal Regulation of Organic Agriculture
    • About Certification and Certified Organic Farms
    • Non‐certified Organic Farming: How to Know If I’m Really Organic
      • Production Issues
      • Marketing Issues
      • Special Products with Special Concerns
      • Paperwork Issues
    • Further Resources
  • Part II Organic System Plan (OSP) Templates (for Non‐Certified Small Farms)
    • Organic System Plan and Declaration for Non‐Certified Small Farms
    • Organic System Plan Update Form
    • Record Keeping (Forms
      • Fertilizers, Soil Amendments, & Pest Control Products
      • Seed & Planting Stock
      • Sales
George Kuepper
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture