Glossary of Natural and “un”Natural Terms
|A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Aquaculture Back to top
The cultivation of the natural produce of water,
Biodynamic Agriculture Back to top
Based on the anthroposophical teachings of Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic agriculture is comprised of an ecological and sustainable farming system. Biodynamics employs the philosophy that the farm should be seen and treated as a whole organism and should be a closed self-nourishing system. Farm health is addressed through the use of soil and plant amendments and recognizes astrologic factors over the use of synthetic inputs to maximize soil fertility.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
Also known as “Mad Cow Disease.” According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,
Information about BSE increases every day. For up-to-date information, check the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s BSE page or the Organic Consumers Association’s BSE page. Click here to read Willy Street Co-op’s BSE statement.
Buffer Zone Back to top
Buffer zones are required between certified organic crops and areas that might contaminate them, such as conventional cropland or highways. The size of the buffer zone depends on the body that is certifying organization and type of crop.
Cage Free Back to top
A bird raised in a chicken house that may or may not offer access to the outdoors.
Certified Organic Back to top
Organic food must be certified by a government-approved agency.
CO2 Process Back to top
A way to decaffeinate coffee beans. The beans are bathed in liquefied carbon dioxide, dissolving the caffeine into the CO2, which is separated from the beans.
Commingling Back to top
In regard to organics, commingling is any contact between conventional and organic products. By definition, once this happens, the organic products can no longer be sold as certified organic.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Back to top
A practice where people purchase a share of a farm’s harvest, helping to cover its yearly operating budget. In exchange, the farm provides a supply of esh produce throughout its growing season. CSAs reinforce connections between local farmers and local consumers as well as develop the local economy.
Compost Back to top
A mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.
Drift Back to top
The movement of particles or droplets through the air from the area where it is being applied to locations outside the targeted area. Through drift or runoff, pesticides can affect more than just the crops it is intended for. Organic crops must
Factory Farm Back to top
A large, industrial operation housing animals in confined areas and treated them with hormones to maximize growth
Fair Trade Back to top
The practice of more equitable, less exploitative dealings with producers in developing countries. General fair trade principles include minimum prices; credit availability; sustainable agricultural methods; and relationships directly with farmers rather than middlemen. The goal is to move workers into a position of stability, security and self-sufficiency.
Free Range Back to top
This term usually refers to poultry that is not confined – i.e, able to go outdoors. It does not necessarily mean that the animal was raised without antibiotics or under cruelty-free circumstances. The use of the term “free range” is only defined by the USDA for poultry production, and need only mean that the bird has had some access to the outdoors each day – USDA considers five minutes of open-air access each day to be adequate. There are also no stipulations for the cleanliness of the area. The use of this term for beef or eggs is unregulated.
Free to Roam Back to top
Sometimes used to mean “free range.” but use of this term is unregulated – it does not have any legally-recognized meaning.
Fruitarian Back to top
A person who eats only fruit (including vegetable-like fruits: tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.).
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Back to top
A plant or animal whose genome has been modified by humans in some way. Scientists do so to take desireable qualities
Grass-Fed Back to top
Products from ruminents (cattle, goats, sheep, etc.) that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and grass. Since pigs and poultry cannot rely on grass for their entire diet, “grass-fed” should not technically be used to describe any of their products. This term is not currently regulated by the USDA.
Grass-Finished Back to top
Products from ruminents (usually cattle) that have eaten grass for the last 3 to 6 months of their lives.
Heirloom Back to top
Also called “Heritage.” Produce grown from an open pollinated seed variety usually at least 50-years-old; also livestock that is physically closer to its natural state, not having been bred or altered to fit commercial standards. The flavor of the heirloom food is thought to be superior because it is not cross-bred to create a product that will withstand cross-country
Heritage Back to top
Homeopathic Back to top
A medical practice that treats a disease by administering very small doses of a remedy designed to stimulate the immune system.
Hydrogenated Oil Back to top
Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to oil. Partial hydrogenation makes the oil denser; full hydrogenation
Integrated Pest Management Back to top
An ecologically based strategy for pest (both
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Back to top
A person living on a diet made up of vegetables,
Macrobiotic Back to top
Relating to a diet based on the Chinese cosmological
Mad Cow Disease Back to top
Monoculture Back to top
The growing of single varieties of corn, wheat,
Natural Back to top
Meat and poultry calling themselves “natural”
Organic Back to top
According to the National Organic Program:
“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use
Permaculture Back to top
Coined in the 1970s by Australian Bill Mollison:
PHO (Partially Hydrogenated Oils) Back to top
Partial hydrogenation hardens
rBGH Back to top
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, a bioengineered
Recyclable Back to top
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
Recycled Back to top
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
Shade-Grown Back to top
Shade-grown or shade-tree-grown coffee refers
Slow Food Movement Back to top
A movement dedicated to the sensory apprecation
Sustainable Agriculture Back to top
Per the Congressional 1990 “Farm Bill”
• satisfy human food and fiber needs
• enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base
• make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and
• sustain the economic viability of farm operations
• enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a
Swiss Water Process (SWP) Back to top
A process to decaffeinate coffee beans. Beans
Trans Fat Back to top
Also known as trans fatty acids. A small amount
Transition Period Back to top
The interval between when a farmer last uses
Unscented Back to top
Used to describe some body care or cleaning
Vegan Back to top
A strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food
Vegetarian Back to top
The theory or practice of living on a diet made
Wildcrafted Back to top
Grown in the wild without pesticides and harvested