Regenerative organic certification raises stakes for hemp producers

Hemp growers employing regenerative agricultural practices can now seek out certification for their crops that meet standards and criteria exceeding the current federal organic growing standards.

Hemp producer Pocono Organics, based in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, said it has earned the Regenerative Organic Certified designation to become the first source grower of ROC hemp.

Regenerative Organic Certified is a third-party certification led by the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).

The ROA includes organizations such as the Pennsylvania-based Rodale Institute, a nonprofit research farm focused on regenerative agriculture, along with California-based companies such as hempseed oil soap-maker Dr. Bronner’s and apparel company Patagonia.

According to the ROA, the regenerative organic certification was developed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Organic certification as a baseline to recognize farms and products that meet high standards for soil health, animal welfare and social fairness.

The effort was created to help consumers make informed choices about the food and products they purchase.

The Regenerative Organic Certified distinction is a multiyear, multistep process in which applicants are eligible for ROC Bronze, Silver and Gold levels as they obtain organic, animal-welfare and social-fairness certifications and meet specific guidelines for each pillar.

Certified farms are permitted to carry the ROC logo on their products and packaging.

“This is an absolute game-changer for our farm as well as for companies and consumers searching for ROC produce and hemp that they can trust,” Ashley Walsh, founder and president of Pocono Organics, said in a statement.

“There is a vital link between the health of our soil, the health of the crops we grow, and ultimately human health.”

Pocono Organics, which produces a line of CBD products that include tinctures, creams, body oil, salve sticks, lip balms and bath bombs, has worked with the Rodale Institute for the past three years to conduct research on the potential uses of industrial hemp.