Although organic food production began as an alternative farming method outside the mainstream, it eventually became divided between two distinct paths:
- small-scale farms that may not be formally certified organic and thus depend on informed consumers who seek out local, fresh, organically grown foods;
- large-scale certified organic food (fresh and processed) that is typically transported large distances and is distributed through typical grocery store chains. If consumers know their local farmer and trust the farmer’s production methods, they may not demand a certification label. On the other hand, organic food produced far away and shipped is more likely to require a certification label to promote consumer trust and to prevent fraud, which exemplifies how national certification regulations are most beneficial.