Stockfree-Organic standards were developed in the United Kingdom by the Vegan Organic Network, and the farm inspections are carried out by the Soil Association Certification Ltd. The standards were produced by gathering feedback from interested individuals and groups from around the world. It is now possible to become Stockfree-Organic Certified in North America.
The book Growing Green acts as a complement to the Stockfree-Organic standards, and greatly elaborates on the techniques of plant-based farming. It is a useful reference guide for anyone who is interested in becoming Stockfree certified, or anyone who is interested in pursuing plant-based farming and gardening.
Stockfree-Organic Certification is for farms that grow organically without the use of manure or the by-products of confined animals. The Stockfree-Organic symbol, pictured above, indicates to consumers the high ethical standards that were followed in the production of their food.
To grow organically, the farmers must refrain from using certain substances, including pesticides, herbicides, and GMO’s, or using techniques that will damage ecosystems. They also minimize their reliance on off-farm inputs and non-renewable resources. The farmers aim to provide habitats for animals in the area, and use techniques that are beneficial for the environment.
With stockfree agriculture, the farmers have additional standards. They cannot use animal inputs on their farm, such as manure or slaughterhouse by-products like blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, and feather meal. The farmers also use preventative measures, like physical barriers, to deal with competing species, and they are not allowed to intentionally kill or hurt any animals on their holding. Stockfree farms encourage environmental conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity.
The standards also ensure that the farms protect the soil quality, through techniques that promote soil fertility, soil structure, and biological activity. The farms must work toward long-term fertility, by adding organic material to the soil. Stockfree farmers use green manures, composts, mulching, and crop rotations, with as much fertility as possible being produced on the farm itself, rather than relying on off-farm sources. The tilling of the soil is discouraged, because it disrupts the soil structure. Certain rock powders and soluble fertilizers are permitted, but only as a supplement to other fertilization practices. Many other off-farm inputs are restricted if they may have come in contact with contaminants like feces, pathogens, heavy metals, or GMO’s.
It is recommended that Stockfree-Organic growers use seeds produced on their own lands, but they are permitted to buy organic seeds.
The standards also work to minimize environmental pollution. The farmers are compelled to use renewable energy sources, re-use and recycle waste materials, and buy and sell products as locally as possible. Packing materials are chosen with consideration to environmental and health impacts, and non-essential packaging is discouraged.
Efforts are made to ensure that Stockfree food is not contaminated. There must be sufficient buffer zones or hedges if the farm is close to sprayed fields. During the harvest, storage, transportation, and distribution, there are standards in place to minimize the chance of contaminated or mis-labeled produce.
Stockfree growers must keep detailed and accurate records of production, outputs, crop records, rotations, seeds, and fertilization plans.
Click here to learn more about the standards in detail. This PDF of the Stockfree-Organic standards includes a detailed explanation of the requirements and principles, and also a list of the recommended, permitted, restricted, and prohibited activities on Stockfree farms.