National Organic Program - NOP
There are many references to the NOP standards on this and other lawn care forums. I have read the regulations several times and each time I read them, I become more convinced that they have limited if any applicability to "safe" or "nonchemical" lawn care.
From the NOP website:
"Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. The OFPA required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop national standards for organically produced agricultural products to assure consumers that agricultural products marketed as organic meet consistent, uniform standards."
"The NOP is a marketing program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Neither the OFPA nor the NOP regulations address food safety or nutrition."
In summary, the NOP defines the use of the term "organic" on food labels.
Many people that use grains to fertilize their lawns don't realize that using nonorganically grown grains violates the NOP standards. Face it folks, from a NOP standpoint you're lawn is not organic (BTW, if your grass seed was genetically engineered or nonorganically grown, you have a second or third violation of the NOP rules).
What about people that use compost teas? From the NOP website (page 68 of linked document):
"The microbial composition of compost teas are difficult to ascertain and control and we are concerned that applying compost teas could impose a risk to human health. Regulation of compost teas was not addressed in the proposed rule. The National Organic Program (NOP) will request additional input from the NOSB and the agricultural research community before deciding whether these materials should be prohibited in organic production or whether restrictions on their use are appropriate."
So the jury is still out...
Most people that are interested in "organic" lawn care want safe, attractive, and relatively low maintenance lawns. They prefer to use environmentally friendly products to achieve their goals. Many prefer not to use "inorganic" chemicals whether the materials are approved by the NOP or not. In my opinion, the NOP rules are not consistent with the goals of most people that want a "natural" lawn.
What do you think? Is there anyone reading this that has a lawn that is in compliance with all of the NOP rules and is truly "organic"?