FAQ: Does Rainforest Alliance Certification require a farm to be organic?

Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms are not required to be organic. Certified farms meet the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard.

This standard is based on an internationally recognized integrated pest management (IPM) model that allows for some limited, strictly controlled uses of agrochemicals. The standard goes beyond organic in a number of critical sectors, including wildlife conservation and worker welfare.

Rainforest Alliance certification requires farmers to use biological alternatives where possible and reduce their overall use of pesticides. The Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard strictly prohibits the use of the most dangerous chemicals, as well as agrochemicals not registered in the country of use or that are banned in the EU and USA. It also prohibits all genetically modified organisms (GMOs). See the list of all chemicals prohibited in the standard.

Workers on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms must receive proper training in the application of any agrochemicals and must use personal protective equipment. When farmers determine that agrochemicals are absolutely necessary to protect crops, they must choose the safest products available to safeguard human health and the environment. The Sustainable Agriculture Network standard requires that all workers that apply, handle, transport, or come into contact with agrochemicals or other chemical substances receive specific safety training on the nature and health risks of these substances, proper handling, use of protective equipment, and emergency procedures in case of accidental exposure. Additionally, all agrochemical workers are required to have a medical exam at least once per year.

The SAN standard provides a realistic and effective way for farms of all sizes to move toward independence from agrochemicals.

Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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