But officially, it’s called Certified Transitional. And it’s a way to support farmers during their three-year journey to become USDA certified organic.
During the conversion process, Quality Assurance International certifies crops in transition to ensure they are grown using sustainable processes and that the farms avoid genetically modified seeds as well as prohibited conventional synthetic pesticides.
OK. Back up. What is a “transitional” crop?
A “transitional” crop is grown on a land that’s in the process of converting from conventional to organic certification. After three years of meeting USDA Organic standards, farmers can apply for organic certification. Before the three-year mark, any crops grown on the field are considered “transitional” crops and cannot be sold on the organic market.
How does Certified Transitional help increase organic farming?
Through Certified Transitional, we are helping to create a marketplace to drive more organic farmland. It reduces the uncertainty farmers face and provides them with a market and greater financial security. So the easier it is for them to transition their land, the more likely they’ll be to do it.
How is Kashi supporting this initiative?
We’re supporting farmers in transition to organic with new products made with ingredients from transitional farmland. Dark Cocoa Karma, is, and will always be made with wheat from transitional farms. Thanks to our partnership with QAI and Hesco, it was the first Certified Transitional product on the market. Soon after, we introduced our Chewy Nut Butter Bars which are made with Certified Transitional ingredients like almonds and dates. Our hope is that products like these act as a catalyst to help farmers convert their farmland—thus creating more transitional crops.
And who is QAI?
That stands for Quality Assurance International — an independent organization and USDA-accredited organic certification body that leads the development of the transitional certification requirements. QAI worked to develop guidelines for each year of farmers’ three-year transitional period, requirements for processors to separate transitional crops from conventional and organic, and a process for verifying on-the-ground transitional farming practices that convert land to become eligible for organic certification.
Who is Hesco?
Hesco, Inc./Dakota Organic Products is a USDA accredited organic certification organization that purchases, mills, blends and packages high-quality, super clean organic and conventional grains. Kashi worked with Hesco to identify the first two farmers to supply Certified Transitional grain for our new Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits — the first Certified Transitional product on the market.
What other partners are involved?
We are fortunate to have a great group of partners who are committed to this mission including ADM, Specialty Food Ingredients, Kennedy Rice, California Natural Products, Pacific Date, and NuLife Market.
And it’s open to anyone?
Absolutely. Certified Transitional is an open system where any company can join. Our hope is this will speed the switch to organics at a much larger scale than Kashi could even accomplish alone. We believe that by working together across industries, we will have a much greater impact on the planet and the food system we share.
Sounds great. How do I get my company involved?
Go right on up there to our contact information and shoot us a note. We’d love to hear from you.
Cool! And how do I support this initiative when I’m shopping?
Simply look for the Certified Transitional mark on products. And if you want to see more, encourage your other favorite brands to incorporate transitional crops into their products. It’s one thing brands can do to make the transition a little easier.
Chew Do Something Awesome
Your new favorite snack isn’t just delicious—it also helps increase organic farmland by using transitional almonds. Read more about our Chewy Nut Butter Bars.
The Seed That Started It All
The idea was planted in our minds during a team-building exercise on a family farm outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn about how Certified Transitional came to be on our blog.
Dark Cocoa Karma is made with transitional wheat—and it always will be. Learn more about the first product on the market to become Certified Transitional.