Farmers Pledge

North Circle Online Farmers Market 2019
The North Circle Online Farmers Market, sponsored by Women’s Environmental Institute, is an active farmer network with a vision of a regional food system connecting local consumers with local farmers in East Central Minnesota. North Circle prioritizes regional producers, unless a particular product isn’t available from a local certified organic and/or sustainable vendor. North Circle works exclusively with farmers who are stewards of the land, including growers who are USDA-certified organic or are committed to organic practices.

Organically Certified Farms
Only farms that are organically certified may use the label “organic.” If you are an organically certified farm, please supply a copy of your
2019-2020 certificate to North Circle.

If you are a farm using and committed to organic farming practices and if you earn less than $5,000 per year, you can use the label organic.

Our farm is organically certified by ________________________ for:
___ Fruit
___ Poultry
___ Eggs
___ Pork
___ Beef
___ Herbs
___ Other
___ Part of farm production not certified

North Circle Farmers Pledge
Many North Circle farms use organic methods to grow produce but have not
filed with a third party agency for official certification. For North Circle farms, this is acceptable if the farm commits to the North Circle Farmers Pledge. These farms will use the label “sustainably farmed” because they are in compliance with the North Circle Farmers Pledge.

Produce: Vegetables, Fruit and Herbs
Farms agree to exclude the use of non-organic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers.
Farms will not use GMO seeds or treated seeds; will not use genetically modified or cloned organisms
Farms will not amend the soil with sludge.
Farms will use only organic seeds for North Circle produce when available on the market (nonorganic seeds as exceptions must be verified with WEI by indicating that no organic seeds are available for a particular variety))
Farms adhere to other organic methods (whether certified or not). Including:
A ) Promoting soil regenerating soil fertility through cover crops,
mulching, composting, rotations, and other methods
B) Providing environmental protections to maximize carbon sequestration and minimize soil degradation, erosion, pollution and contamination from neighboring land
C) Promoting biodiversity above and below the soil
D) Recycling materials and resources to the greatest extent
possible within the ecosytem of the farm

Farm agrees to maintain liability insurance whenever possible.

Farm agrees to use safe handling, packing and storage practices (See attached NCOFM Food Safety and Handling Guidelines). Including Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) as follows:
Farm has SOP for washing, handling and packing produce
Farm has SOP for field harvesting
Farm has SOP for storing produce
Farm has Farm Plan for animal care

Farm agrees to deliver to WEI #1 quality crops in accordance with North Circle Standards of Quality. Farm agrees to communicate with North Circle Coordinator if its sold produce has experience damage or is below the required quality.

Farm agrees to pack sold produce in a clean bag or box for delivery to North Circle Coordinator with the Farm’s name on the box. quantity delivered, and date of harvest. A “bundle” will follow North Circle criteria for what qualifies as a bundle.

In general, farm provides attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioral needs of livestock.
Farm provides organically certified feed and/or non-GMO feed.
Farm provides adequate grazing: areas for outdoor access and does not create KAFO feedlots.
Farm does not use antibiotics or growth hormones for livestock.
Farm certifies that meat provided to North Circle customers is processed under MDA or USDA inspection.

Farm uses milk that is rGBH-free.
Farm uses milk that is antibiotic-free.
Farm does not use milk with added coloring, artificial flavors, preservatives or GMO rennet.

Eggs (added in 2019)
Farm provides eggs cleaned of manure, feathers and bedding debris.
Farm guarantees that eggs are cleaned by dry brushing and, if washed, marked for refrigerated storage to the customer.

Honey must be raw and untreated and without extra additives
Hives are located on certified organic farmland
Farm does not use any of the petrochemical mite treatment products that can leave residue in honey and wax.
Bees are treated only with formic or oxalic acid in the fall for mite treatment.
Farm provides areas of flowers for pollination and bee health.
Farm does what is possible to winterize hives and keep colonies
in survival mode over the winter

Syrup has no additional additives.

Value-added Products (other than honey or syrup) or farm slaughtered meat

WEI will provide a space for farms wanting to advertise these products, but they cannot be
listed as official North Circle products. QUESTION About SOAPS and LIPBaUM.

Farm must use, whenever possible, raw ingredients that are locally grown and sourced from North Circle farmers or from other purveyors practicing sustainable farming.
Farm must provide clear written information about production methods and product ingredients to any customer who requests it.