You may use home-made compost, hand weeding and natural pest control in your garden. However, green growing methods do not qualify you to sell fruits and vegetables with a USDA organic seal. To obtain this seal, you must become certified in organic growing. The process is fairly straightforward and can be completed in a relatively short time period. Once your produce carries a USDA certified organic seal, you can sell the produce at a premium.
Find a USDA Accredited Certifying Agent. An ideal candidate is someone who is willing to work with you, answer any questions that you may have and has experience certifying farms like yours. For a list of operators in your area, see the Resources section.
Request and complete an application packet with the help of your certifying agent. This packet (and, of course, your certifying agent) will be your most helpful tool for familiarizing yourself with the standards and requirements that you must meet to become certified as an organic grower. It will also include a questionnaire that will ask detailed questions about your growing methods to ensure that your methods are organic.
Have your farm inspected. Once the application is completed and your farm is in line with organic standards, your organic certifying agent will assign an organic inspector to your farm. The inspector will check the documentation of your growing practices, seed sources, compost production, soil samples and other aspects of your farm to ensure that you are in line with organic standards. At the end of the visit, the inspector will either recommend your farm for certification or inform you of any compliance issues. If you are required to change any of your practices, a follow-up inspection may be necessary. At the end of the inspection, you will be informed of any non-compliance issues and a report of the findings will be given to the certifier.
Have your certifying agent submit your application (and any application fees) and inspection report to a certification committee. If all goes well, you will then be certified in organic growing. If not, you may be asked for additional information about your growing practices, informed that you are not yet in compliance with organic standards, or denied certification.