Glossary of Terms
Agritourism: agricultural tourism is a commercial enterprise at a farm, ranch or vineyard that provides enjoyment or education to visitors and generates supplemental income to growers. These enterprises also provide opportunities for urban populations to experience a farm. Agritourism can include farm stands, ag tours, wildlife viewing or bird watching, festivals, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting or u-picks. For more on Agritourism go here.
Artisan: signals that the product, whether cheese, bread, wine, etc., was hand crafted individually or in small batches. Artisan products frequently utilize traditional or indigenous methods.
Biodynamic: a method of farming developed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and philosopher. This approach regards a farm as a self-contained, living organism and emphasizes the vitality of soil maintenance and composting. Biodynamic growers work to balance and consider both the physical and non-physical aspects and cycles of a farm in their production.
Certified Farmers' Market (CFM): locations where farmers and ranchers are allowed to sell directly to customers, exempt from USDA packaging, sizing, and labeling regulations. These locations must be certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Many CFMs have technically separate, but adjacent markets where prepared food, bread and other complimentary items may be sold. Farmers may also sell direct to consumers at Farm Stands.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): a farm that is funded by a group of community members. Members pay an annual or quarterly fee in exchange for a weekly assortment of farm fresh produce or other farm products. Many CSAs are year round, but in the foothills, most provide produce from spring through fall. CSA helps local farmers increase cash flow and diversifies risk over multiple crops.
*To find a CSA see “How to Eat Local”
Conventional Agriculture: the modern form of industrialized agriculture which emphasizes maximum productivity and profitability, practiced on the majority of US farms. Conventional agriculture is characterized by mechanization, monocultures, and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Conventional agriculture may also use genetically modified organisms. This form of industrialized agriculture has become “conventional” only within the last 60 years or so.
Direct Sales/ Direct Marketing: an exchange in which the producer sells directly to the customer, as in a farmers' market or CSA model. In direct sales, the growers are able to reap 100% of the profits of their labor, and the customer is able to build a relationship with the producer.
Farm Stand: a location at or near the point of production where Californian farmers and ranchers are allowed to sell their fresh produce and eggs directly to consumers, exempt from packaging, sizing, and labeling regulations. New state regulations also allow growers to sell certain processed agricultural products.
Free- Range: livestock or poultry that is permitted to forage in large area of open land rather than confined to a feedlot. According to the USDA “free range” must have access to the outdoors, but the amount or quality is not regulated.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): an organism that has been altered genetically, typically through the transfer of DNA from another organism. Alterations result in the expression of new characteristics not naturally belonging to that organism. Genetic modification is currently allowed in conventional agriculture in the United States. (also Genetic Engineering)
Grass Fed: a USDA standard requiring that an animal’s only feed source be grass or forage, except for milk consumed prior to weaning. Animals are required to have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Grass-fed animals may not be fed grain or grain byproducts at any time during their lifetime.
Locavore: a person committed to eating a diet produced within a specific area
Natural: For meat and poultry products, "natural" signifies that a product contains no added colorings nor artificial ingredients and was minimally processed. "Natural does not mean organic and is not a USDA certified standard for produce.
Non-certified Vendor: sellers of processed and prepared foods allowed in limited numbers in a non-certified portion of the market.
Organic: a USDA standard that requires that crops are raised without the use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers, or genetically engineered materials. There is an emphasis on using renewable resources and conservation. Animal products must come from animals that have been fed organic feed, had access to the outdoors, and received neither antibiotics nor growth hormones. Meat products must also be processed in an organic certified facility. The use of the term Organic is regulated by the USDA, and is only permissable by certified producers.
Sustainable Agriculture: an approach that encompasses a wide variety of methods of farming and ranching with the common goals of providing more farm profits, achieving greater environmental stewardship, and benefiting their families and communities. Some common practices include protecting and improving soil quality, reducing dependence on fuel, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and minimizing adverse impacts on wildlife, water quality and other environmental resource.
Transitional: before being considered eligible for organic certification, any given piece of land must be free of prohibited substances for three years. Many farmers use the term "transitional" during those three years to indicate they are using organic management practices but have not yet fulfilled the time requirement for certification.
Resources used to compile information presented:
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA): Glossary of Terms
New Farm Stand Regulations Expand Options, UC Small Farm Program
Organic Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms for Farmers and Gardeners, UCCE Humboldt by Annie Eicher
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
United States Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Marketing Service
United States Department of Agriculture- Food Safety & Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Library glossary