About Organic Certification

Learn About The Certification Process

Organic Certification

Under the federal National Organic Program (NOP), a farm can market its products as organic only if they are certified (unless exempt under the rule). Certification is a process that requires farms to follow certain production practices, keep records, and be inspected by an independent certification agency. Farms that sell less than $5000 per year may be exempt from the requirement for certification, but are still required to follow all recordkeeping and other rules of the NOP in order to describe their products as Organic.  We have identified those who are certified organic with a special symbol , and we list the name of their certification agency.  Certification information can change; ask about current certification status. 

Farms that are not certified organic sometimes say they follow organic practices, or they may have the word ‘organic’ in their farm name. This is not the same as being a Certified Organic farm, so ask questions. If you have concerns about use of pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic chemicals, hormones or other animal treatments, ask the farmer to explain his or her practices. Most farmers will be glad to have an informed and interested customer.

MOFFA welcomes new members to join us and get involved in creating a better food system for Michigan. Our members include organic and ecologically sustainable farmers, food coops, educators, environmentalists, food businesses, food and farm activists and concerned citizens throughout Michigan and elsewhere.

Certified Naturally Grown

In lieu of NOP organic certification, some farms in this guide have chosen to participate in the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) program.  The requirements for the two are similar, but CNG is a network of local farmers who certify each other rather than a USDA-accredited agency.  It may be a better fit for smaller growers who do not feel they need the “Certified Organic” label.


Many of the growers and farmers listed in the guide have also gone through one or more of the three Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assistance Program (MAEAP) programs – Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock.  After an initial education session, the farm is subjected to an assessment to identify areas that could use updating or improvement to minimize environmental risks and pollution. The farmer then works to correct any of these areas and make necessary improvements.  Finally, the farm is visited by a Verifier who ensures the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices.  Successful passge through this process results in ‘MAEAP Verification’ in one or more of the three programs.

CCOFCalifornia Certified Organic Farmers
GOAGlobal Organic Alliance
ICOEcocert / Indiana Certified Organic
ICSInternational Certification Services
MOSAMidwest Organic Services Association
NICSNature’s International Certification Services
OCIAOrganic Crop Improvement Association
OCPPOCPP / Pro-Cert Canada Inc.
OEFFAOhio Ecological Food and Farm Association
OTCOOregon Tilth Certified Organic
QAIQuality Assurance Interntaional