Chestnut Hill veggies are now Certified Organic!
Since The Trustees’ founding in 1891 as a land conservation organization, we have preserved and protected farmland in Massachusetts. And some of our most beautiful and iconic sites are working farms that still feed our communities today.
At The Trustees, we are carrying on a history of agriculture that spans decades, while welcoming members and the public to visit our farms, learn about sustainable agriculture, and best of all: enjoy and eat the food we grow.
Growing food sustainably is a key part of our agriculture vision.
What does this mean? Rather than depleting and eroding soils, we are building up soil health and nutrition. Rather than polluting waterways, our farming practices contribute to a healthy local ecosystem where pollinators, birds, and wildlife can thrive in balance alongside our crops – preserving healthy farmland forever.
We have generally followed the organic standards from the very first year of cultivation on these fields (2015) and have discussed and debated certification within our farm team since then; we are taking the final step over the finish line to be fully certified organic now. We want to show our commitment to excellent land stewardship and sustainability by fully participating in the rigorous application and inspection process, and model transparency with you, our customers.
What does it look like?
We submit all of our farm records to a third-party inspector, who works with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine our eligibility each year.
This includes everything that happens on our vegetable fields, from seed to harvest!
- We share all of our seed purchase records, sources for compost and fertilizers, water tests, planting schedules, sales details, equipment inventory, field maps, and much more with the inspection team, and will repeat this process every year.
- We host the certifier for a comprehensive farm inspection each year, after they have combed through all of our submitted records.
Limits and restrictions (Full Organic Standards listed here):
- We can spray herbicides or pesticides only if they are included on the list of approved materials – no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers are permitted.
- No GMO or treated seeds are permitted.
- Irrigation and wash water must be safe and within healthy limits.
What about livestock and meats?
We are choosing NOT to be certified organic on the livestock side; we can still care for the health of our animals and steward our pasture lands well without that label right now. Certified organic feed for livestock is currently prohibitively expensive; it doesn’t feel fair to pass that on to our customers. We are able to raise healthy animals, work with humane processors, and take care of our pasture land well right now without the certification.
Summary: We care about food safety, crop nutrition and health, worker safety, and land stewardship! We are choosing to fully participate in the organic certification process to be even more transparent about our farming practices.