Sustainable Eating Lingo

Ever wonder exactly what it means to be Free Range, Naturally Raised or Certified Naturally Grown? Hopefully these definitions will shed some light so the next time you’re at the local farmers market you will understand what you are buying, where it came from and how it was grown.


(FR) Free Range: Poultry meat may be labeled “free-range” if the birds were provided an opportunity to access the outdoors. No other requirements – such as the stocking density, the amount of time spent outdoors, or the quality and size of the outdoor area – are specified by the USDA. As a result, free-range conditions may amount to tens of thousands of birds crowded inside a shed with a single exit leading to a muddy strip, saturated with droppings.

(GF) Grass Fed: Animals are mainly raised on pasture instead of being confined in feedlots and fed grain. Grass-finished animals are raised entirely on pasture and are fed stored hay and grass over the winter.

(HB) Heritage Breeds: Traditional breeds raised by farmers before the industrial agriculture drastically reduced breed variety.

(HF) Hormone Free: Growth hormones are not used to force an animal to gain weight, increasing incidences of disease and leading to the routine prescription of antibiotics.

(HR) Humanely Raised: Animal stress is limited through sufficient space, shelter, and gentle handling.

(NR) Naturally Raised: Animals cannot be given antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products.


(B) Biodynamic Agriculture: A unified approach to agriculture which tends the soil and the farm as living organisms, considers animals an integral part of a living ecosystem, and strives to bring community into farming.

(C) Conventional: How most farms have operated over the past 50-plus years. Commercial fertilizers and synthetic chemicals are probably used.

(CNG) Certified Naturally Grown: A grassroots certification program for farmers to sell locally and directly to customers. Its standards are based on the National Organic Program but require improved livestock conditions and more explicit access to pasture.

(CRCC) Crop Rotation, use of cover crop: Help hold thd siol, renew fertility, and reduce pests.

(IPM) Integrated Pest Management: Matches insect and plant information with available pest-control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage while using the most economical means and causing the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

(LS) Low-Spray: Chemicals are used sparingly.

(O) Certified Organic: Certified by an accredited agency to meet national standards for raising produce or livestock in a way that does not harm the environment and that preserves or improves soil fertility, soil structure, and farm sustainability. Usually this means: avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs, genetically modified organism, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge; chemical free for 3 years; periodic inspections,etc.

(P) Permaculture: A design system for creating sustainable human environments which,
for food production, begins with soil building and focuses on perennials.

(PF) Pesticide Free: No use of pesticides on seeds and plants throughout the crop

(SA ) Soil Amendments, Such as Use of Compost and Non-synthetic Fertilizers:
Build soil fertility.

(T) Transitional: Moving to organic.

Resource: Central Ohio River Valley Food Guide


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