Defining the Lingo

BMAC = Blue Mountain Action Council. A private, nonprofit, multipurpose agency that includes our local Food Bank. Partner on the LFPP grant.

LFPP = Local Food Promotion Program – a grant program offered through the USDA. We were awarded this grant on October 1, 2018.

WWVFSC = Walla Walla Valley Food System Coalition


Direct Marketing: Sales from a farm/producer direct to the consumer. Farmers sell direct to consumers at the Farmers Market, food stands, U-Pick operations, through CSA’s and online markets. Farmers also sell direct to restaurants and coops/grocery stores. These are often called semi-direct because it is still one layer away from the consumer.

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture is when customers pay farmers up front for a share of the harvest. They then receive a box or bag of produce and other farm products on a weekly basis throughout the growing season. CSAs vary on number of weeks, price, variety of products and delivery method. Some include work on the farm in exchange for food.

Wholesale: Lower prices are offered through a distributor for potentially larger quantities or on an ongoing basis, such as for restaurants, institutions or stores before products reach the end-user.

Value-Added: An agricultural commodity or product whose value has been increased by undergoing a change in physical state (ie turning fruit into jam or grain into bread).


Certified Naturally Grown: Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) products are certified by an independent non-profit organization through peer-to-peer inspection networks. GNG standars approximate national organic standards, yet require less paperwork and have lower certification fees than the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Certified Organic: All products sold as organic must meet the USDA National Organic Program production and handling standards.  Certification is mandatory for farmers selling more than $5,000 of organic products per year and includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and/or processing facilities to verify that organic practices and record-keeping are being followed.

Conventional: Refers to standard farming practices in the agricultural industry can (but does not necessarily) include use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers antibiotics hormones and other chemical approaches

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): GMOs are plants or animals whose genetic makeup has been altered by the addition of genes from other organism. The process is done to promote more desirable traits, like longer shelf-life or resistance to certain pests. Genes can be transferred between similar organisms (plant to plant) or between different types of organisms. An example is the gene from a bacteria (Bt) that was transferred into crop plants.

Heirloom: Heirloom crop varieties, also called traditional varieties, have been developed by farmers through years of cultivation, selection, and Seed saving, and passed down through generations. Generally speaking, heirlooms are varieties that have been in existence for a minimum of 50 years.

Locally-Grown: Food and other agricultural products that are produced, processed, and sold within a certain region, whether defined by distance, state border, or regional boundaries. The US Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 says the total distance that a product can be transported and still be considered a “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product” is less than 400 miles from its origin, or within the state in which it was produced. However it is not regulated and each farmers market or retail outlet can define and regulate the term based on their own mission and circumstances.

No Spray/Pesticide-Free: While a farm may not be organic, “no spray” or “pesticide-free” indicates that no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides have been applied to the crop at any point in its production.

No-Till: A method of reducing soil erosion by planting crops without tilling the soil. This is beneficial to soil organic matter levels, requires less passes over the field and doesn’t disturb deeply buried weed seeds. However, it will usually result in increased need for weed management of existing weeds.

Small Farm: In 1997, the National Commission on Small Farms defined small farms as those with less than $250,000 in gross receipts annually on which day-to-day labor and management are provided by the farmer and/or the farm family that owns the production, or owns or leases the productive assets. Based on the 2012 Census of Agriculture by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are 37,249 farms in Washington State. Of these farms, 89% or 33,228 have sales less than $250,000 per year. 45% or 16,900 farms in Washington reported annual sales below $2,500 and can be classified as “non-commercial” operations, leaving 80% still classified as “small”.  Looking at small by acreage is less meaningful as it would depend on the agricultural product; 150 acres under vegetable production would seem a large farm where it might not be large for raising animals or grains.

Sustainable Agriculture: Farming that is socially just, humane, economically viable and environmentally sound. Practices that promote diversity, build healthy soils, protect riparian waterways, recycle on farm inputs and bring farmers the opportunity to set their own prices promote sustainability.


Free-Range/Pastured: Free-range, free-roaming, and pastured imply that a product comes from an animal that was raised unconfined and free to roam. “Free-range” claims on beef and eggs are unregulated, but USDA requires that poultry have access to the outdoors for an undetermined period each day.

Grass-Fed: The diet of grass-fed animals consists of freshly grazed pasture during the growing season and stored grasses (hay or grass silage) during the winter months or drought conditions. Grass feeding is used with cattle, sheep, goats, and bison.

Heritage-Breed: A term applied to breeds of livestock that were bred over time to be well-adapted to local environmental conditions, withstand disease, and survive in harsh environmental conditions. Heritage breeds generally have slow growth rates and long productive life spans outdoors, making them well-suited for grazing and pasturing.

Humane: If an animal is labeled “humane”, it implies that the animals were treated with compassion. “Certified Humane” means that the animals were allowed to engage in their natural behaviors; raised with sufficient space where they were able to lie down, shelter and handled gently to limit stress; and given ample full fresh water and a healthy diet without added antibiotics or hormones. Not all “Humane” claims are regulated.

Naturally-Grown/All-Natural: USDA guidelines state that all “natural” meat and poultry products can only undergo minimum processing and cannot contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients. The claim “natural” is otherwise unregulated.

No Added Hormones: the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations prohibit any use of hormones in pork and poultry. Therefore, all pork and poultry is eligible to be labeled with “Raised without Hormones”. However, if they use that label they must also have a statement that no hormones are used in the production of ANY pork or poultry as well. The USDA allows some meat products (including beef) to be labeled as “Raised without Hormones”, meaning that there were no extra hormones given. These animals come from process verified programs that are monitored by USDA so they allow that claim.

Raised Without Antibiotics: Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to animals, to promote growth and/or prevent disease. “Raised Without Antibiotics” means no antibiotics of any kind were used in the raising of that animal. Producers send documentation to the USDA to support their claim, but there are no inspections. However, if the package also sports a USDA Process Verified seal, it means that USDA inspectors have made a visit to the farm to confirm that antibiotics were not used.

In conventional production, if an animal is given an antibiotic, farmers and processers must allow a specific amount of time to pass before that animal is legal to slaughter. This “withdrawal period” allows time for the animal’s body to metabolize the antibiotic and the residues to exit the animal’s system before it is harvested. USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) randomly samples animals and tissues at the time of slaughter to test for residues, to ensure a safe food supply.


Food Access: consumer choices are likely to e influenced by the accessibility and affordability of food retailers, travel time to shopping, availability of healthy foods, and food prices. Price of food can be a barrier for low-income families.

Food Aggregation/Distribution: The process of gathering local/regional food from farmers at a specific site and then trucking the food to buyers such as restaurants, grocery outlets, institutions, etc. See Food Hub.

Food Hub: A centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products. An also be coordinated through the internet.

Food Security: USDA’s definition of food security is “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Food security components, several different components, including food access, distribution of food, the stability of the food supply and the use of food. May be discussed in number of days of food supply.

SNAP: Food stamps were renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP in 2008. A growing number of farmers markets are equipped with the technology to accept SNAP benefits through Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT). The EBT system authorizes the transfer of government SNAP benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for fresh food.

WIC FMNP: The Women, Infants and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides coupons to eligible low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or caring for children up to five years old who are found to be at nutritional risk. Coupons are used to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs at farmers markets. Funding for the WIC FMNP is provided by the USDA Food and Nutritional Service to states, U.S. Territories and federally-recognized Indian Tribal governments.