News

WWOOF

You’ve seen the acronym WWOOF on our website and social media and probably thought to yourself “What in the world does WWOOF mean??”. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It all began in 1970’s England by a woman named Sue Coppard and was originally called “Working Weekends on Organic Farms”. Sue was a secretary from London who desired for those who did not have the means to access the countryside to be able to experience the farming lifestyle while supporting the growing organic movement. After her initial trial working on a biodynamic farm, more and more organic farmers & smallholders were eagerly hosting people with a yearning to be a part of organic farming in exchange for food and accommodation. These keen aspiring farmers are affectionately referred to as WWOOFers.
 
What is a WWOOF host?
The WWOOF host farm provides accommodations and food in exchange for roughly 4-6 hours of labor which can include tasks such as harvesting produce & herbs, sowing seeds, composting, splitting wood, milking livestock, building fences, and wine, cheese or bread making. There are host locations all around the world in roughly 99 countries. WWOOF hosts can be anyone with a farm or land who operates with permaculture or biodynamic growing methods. Participating as a WWOOF host is not only rewarding in terms of labor, but can also provide a gratifying experience educating and teaching those interested in an organic farming lifestyle. Many WWOOFers are so encouraged by their experience with their host farms that they change their way of life to incorporate their own organic farms!
 
What is it like to WWOOF at Moon Valley?
WWOOFing can vary drastically from host to host. The length of stay is determined by the host and WWOOFer and can range from a couple days to even a year! Here at Moon Valley, the length of stay is dependent on our need for extra hands as well as the WWOOFer’s schedule. We offer rustic accommodations in either a vintage VW bus, or camper. Previous WWOOfers have even opted to “tent it” for their stay! Supplies for fresh, sustainable and organic meals are provided which are prepared and enjoyed in our vast outdoor kitchen. Our WWOOFers get to experience a wide variety of every day organic farming tasks like harvesting calendula & watering fields to spending a day in the shop & production area packaging lotion bars and even some beekeeping! One of the best parts about being a WWOOFer is experiencing the local scenery and activities. The eclectic & charming town of Bellingham is only 30 minutes away from our farm and provides endless options for music, food and festivals. Our WWOOfers have a special place in our hearts and are instantaneously included into our family-like atmosphere.
 
Interested in WWOOfing?
New experiences, travel opportunities and education in sustainable farming has made WWOOFing an incredible way to travel with a purpose and get a true taste of organic farming life. How else can you experience a new culture and environment while receiving food & board as well as organic & sustainability education from those who are living it? With the plethora of host locations around the world, there is something to strike everyone’s fancy! Below is a link to the official WWOOF website, enjoy!
http://www.wwoof.net/
 
August 29, 2014 by Heather Sampson

B Corporation Certification

On March 6th, 2014, Moon Valley Organics signed a Declaration of Interdependence and became a Certified B Corporation, also known as a B Corp. What is a B Corp you ask? Simply put, B Corporations are for-profit companies that pledge to achieve social and economic goals as well as financial and business goals. They are companies with a specific social mission and a desire to make the world a better place through the benefits of business.
 
Certified B Corporations are regularly certified based on their social and environmental performance by a nonprofit called B Lab. B Lab not only certifies and provides support for benefit corporations, they are the organization that developed the model for benefit corporation legislation. To date, 27 states have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate themselves as a unique business classification known as “benefit corporations”. B Corporations and benefit corporations are very similar in that they provide accountability of the directors in areas such as community and environment. The differences between the two classifications are that while both require an annual assessment, only B Corporations are certified, verified and audited by a third party. Also, only Certified B Corporations can access a portfolio of services like marketing and sales support provided by B Lab.
 
Moon Valley Organics is not only committed to making superb organic skincare products, we are also dedicated to sustainable farming practices with little environmental impact such as a greywater system for production department waste, rainwater catchment for crop watering, composting, and recycling.
 
Aside from our environmental performance, Moon Valley Organics spreads our social mission of organic, sustainable farming through programs like World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers (WWOOF). Through the WWOOFing program, we host aspiring organic farmers and with hands-on education, are able to pass on our knowledge of organic and sustainable farming.
 
We at Moon Valley Organics recognize that sustainability is more than a trend and actively practice the concept that one’s work should not only be profitable, but meaningful as well.
August 22, 2014 by Heather Sampson

National Honey Bee Day!

 
To some, the bee is a feared pest that evokes anxiety, when in actuality the honeybee is a divine and essential creature in our ecosystem and food chain. The honeybee is responsible for pollinating 1/3 of our food sources, and without them our environment would be drastically effected.
Moon Valley Organics is not only an organic farm and creator of organic body care products, we are also an apiary, (also known as a bee yard) where colonies are kept and cared for. We have bee hives throughout Whatcom County, as well as hives on the farm. We harvest raw honey and pollen from our bees, & beeswax is used in many of our products. Our founders, Kim & Aaron Otto, have a strong passion for beekeeping and have been practicing the important art for over 16 years.
Here are some incredible honeybee facts:
  • In North America it is believed that 30%* of food for human consumption originates from plants pollinated by bees. An in the US alone insect pollinated crops were worth $20 billion at 2000 prices.
  • It takes one colony of honeybees, around 30,000 bees, to pollinate just one acre of fruit trees
  • In her entire life, a worker bee collects 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey
  • When foraging, a bee will travel up to 3 miles from the hive in search of nutrition
  • Honeybees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the world to gather a pound of honey
  • Honey is the only insect-created food with medicinal, therapeutic, nutritional and cosmetic value and is the only insect produced food that is eaten by man
  • The honey bee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
  • The bee's brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
  • The average life of a worker bee during the working season is only 6 weeks
 
August 16th is National Honey Bee Day and one of our founders, Kim Otto, will have a pop-up booth near our Pike Place Market shop with an observation hive, FREE samples of our farm fresh honeycomb and information to bring awareness to the honeybee and the various issues affecting their population. Some issues include Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the use of pesticides on crops.
“In early 2007, abnormally high die-offs (30–70% of hives) of European honey bee colonies occurred in North America; such a decline seems unprecedented in recent history. This has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder" (CCD); it is unclear whether this is simply an accelerated phase of the general decline due to stochastically more adverse conditions in 2006, or a novel phenomenon. Research has so far failed to determine what causes it, but the weight of evidence is tentatively leaning towards CCD being a syndrome rather than a disease, as it seems to be caused by a combination of various contributing factors rather than a single pathogen or poison. However, in April of 2013, after a report was released by the European Food Safety Authority identifying the significant risks of the class of pesticides called neonictonoids, the European Union called for a two-year restriction on neonicotinoid pesticides.” -Wikipedia
We at Moon Valley are committed to doing our part in aiding the survival of colonies through beekeeping, education and not using pesticides. Below are links to more information so you can find out what you can do to help the exquisite honeybee once again become a thriving part of our environment.
National Honey Bee Day 
 
Pesticide Action Network
 
Sum of Us
 

Our History

Many moons ago, a small town couple had a big dream, and that dream was Moon Valley Organics. Kim and Aaron Otto were your average hardworking couple who aspired for something more, not only for their families, but for consumers. They visualized an organic skin care company that would not only bring relief to those with skin ailments, but that would farm, and produce these products using the utmost sustainable practices.

 

At the time, Aaron was working the usual 9-5 in the construction industry while Kim at home was raising their daughters, Lyric and Ferrin. The dream for themselves, and Moon Valley Organics was born.

 

 

Before the days of our current product line, Moon Valley was an organic vegetable farm near North Bend, Washington that sold vegetables at local farmer’s markets. Their connections through the farmer’s markets gave them the “in” they needed to expand their business to include body care products.

 

 

Once their demand for product grew, and their business plan was in place, the Otto family moved north to the town of Arlington and put roots down at Pragtree Farm, a community of the Evergreen Land Trust. Through the Land Trust program, they were able to live on the land and live in a largely self-sustainable community. After living on the farm for 8 years, the Otto’s attempted the city living lifestyle and soon realized it was not for them.

 

On a family vacation, to tour the various waterslide parks in the Northwest, they came upon the Mt Baker community of Deming and were immediately awestruck by the endless family farms and pristine wilderness in the area. After finding the perfect plot of land, they were devastated to learn the once dairy farm had already been sold. Not giving up hope, the family relocated to the Bellingham area and to their surprise, just a few months later, they were informed that their dream piece of land was back on the market! They bounded at the opportunity, and never looked back.

 

 

The Moon Valley product line started with just 4 bar soaps, our Rejuvenating Rub, Lip Balm, and of course the ever popular Lotion Bar. In 2000, Moon Valley Organics began selling in the Pike Place Market in the heart of Seattle. This development changed the success of the business as a whole and to this day, is one of our largest means of delivering organic body care to our beloved customers. Our medicinal salves weren’t introduced until 2005 with the help of Dr Daniel Newman, MD, ND, and DOM.

 

In 2009, after years of hard work and dedication, Moon Valley Organics became USDA certified organic, which was a top milestone for the business. In the same year, Moon Valley became active with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and continues to host aspiring organic farmers and further their farming dreams through education and hands-on organic farm experience.

 

When asked where they see Moon Valley in 5 years Kim would like to see more of our organic, healing body care products on store shelves. She also anticipates product development of a shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and facial line. Aaron would like to see the business continue to grow, with the integrity of the brand intact while inspiring future organic farmers.

 

Through hard work and dedication, and with the passion of their employees, Kim and Aaron Otto were able to take Moon Valley Organics from making lotion bar batches in a crock pot to making their organic, sustainable farming dream a reality.

August 08, 2014 by Heather Sampson

Moon Valley Film

Take a trip to Moon Valley Organics
March 22, 2012 by Aaron Otto

Testimonials

If you have had a great experience with Moon Valley Organics please feel free to comment here. We would love to hear from you.
April 22, 2011 by Aaron Otto

Do It Better

Feel free to let us know what you think, product ideas, customer service improvements. Help us be better.
November 21, 2010 by Aaron Otto