I was recently introduced to a new website that is intriguing in its approach to bringing knowledge and action together in one place as a resource for healthy living. This interconnection of information and experience with food, fitness, and lifestyle delivers an important roadmap to health, beauty and quite frankly happiness. The website is SimplyCentered.com and is a worthy and trusted resource for navigating a life of well-being this year.
Spring is finally in the air, the buds are sprouting and the sap is flowing. Songbirds are migrating forth to burst their color and symphonies across our landscape. So too the organic community is entering into a spring wake up call to action. Twice a year, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets to listen to public comments and to discuss specific items pertaining to organic agriculture. This April, they will meet and vote on recommendations for the National Organic Program (NOP) to consider. This spring meeting is especially important because they will be discussing over 200 materials up for review in organic production! NOSB meetings are an important forum for all organic stakeholders to comment and support transparency in the standards development process. They need everyone to weigh in! Continue reading
Just before the MOSES conference I was lucky enough to catch Betsy Rakola, USDA Organic Policy Advisor, for a chat. It was exciting because Betsy took the role just last August. She also serves as the chair of USDA’s Organic Working Group. This position was created by Secretary Tom Vilsack two years ago, and it’s the first of its kind at USDA. Now it is a permanent position so the focus on organic is here to stay. Betsy is no stranger to the National Organic Program and her commitment to growing organic agriculture was evident in every answer. Following is the second half of our discussion: Continue reading
Just before the MOSES conference I was lucky enough to catch Betsy Rakola, USDA Organic Policy Advisor, for a chat. It was exciting because Betsy took the role just last August. She also serves as the chair of USDA’s Organic Working Group. This position was created by Secretary Tom Vilsack two years ago, and it’s the first of its kind at USDA. Now it is a permanent position so the focus on organic is here to stay. Betsy is no stranger to the National Organic Program and her commitment to growing organic agriculture was evident in every answer. Continue reading
The revolution will not be televised…. instead it will be commercialized on our shelves, on the products we choose and in our fields .The revolution is coming… you can see it! If you haven’t noticed, GMO labels are staging a strong uprising in the aisles of our markets. Labels that identify products made without GMO ingredients are the fastest growing label in stores these days. Not local, not organic, but non-GMO! It’s no wonder 90% of Americans say they want their food to be labeled, the revolution is upon us. State referendums may rise and fall as this not so silent uprising is gaining ground in stores and fields near you!
The Non-GMO Project leads the way certifying and verifying that over 27,000 products are non-GMO. Sales of their Verified products topped $11 billion dollars last year and they continue to grow at a frantic pace. They have a rigorous verification and testing process, that includes testing for all major high risk ingredients such as corn or soy. It’s overseen by independent third-party technical administrators, who insure ongoing compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, including ongoing testing and annual inspections. There are other non-GMO labels and claims but none are as trustworthy or meticulous as that of the Non-GMO Project. They are the leaders and the founders of the movement.
The spark that has fueled this growth is the astonishing tenacity of the people who want GMO transparency in their food. GMO technology has only been around since the 1990’s and really took over agricultural practices in the early 2000’s. Once GMO production dominated the landscape it became increasingly clear that it would be a very long time until manufacturers would be required to label their products. Thus the Non-GMO Project’s mission was borne out: to distinguish and reward those without GMOs.
Not surprisingly an overwhelming majority, 80 percent of respondents to a recent Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers indicated that they would pay more for foods with labels like Non-GMO!
The revolution is an evolution blossoming in the farming community as a result. Because of the tremendous growth in the marketplace the demand for non-GMO grains, seeds and beans has skyrocketed. Farmers who switch to non-GMO seeds and production are being rewarded with excellent prices. There is currently a 14% per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans and corn premiums are even higher. While the conventional price for corn has fallen 50% and conventional soy by 35% in the past two years, producers are looking for new avenues to grow a healthy farm future. The added premium for non-GMO corn and soy may just provide the insurgency needed to incentivize farmers to make the switch. Even the Cargill Company, a bastion of big agriculture, offers an opportunity for select producers to be rewarded for producing high-quality non-GMO corn.
This mutiny against GMO technology is a step in the right direction but many non-GMO growers may still use toxic herbicides and pesticides. Always keep in mind that the USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of non-GMO technology. Organic farmers are prohibited from planting GMO’s and using toxic herbicides and pesticides.
If you can’t buy organic then non-GMO is a path in the right direction of change. For every Midwestern farmer who plants non-GMO there is less risk of contamination to her organic neighbors. Many an organic farmer has lost untold sales and future contracts because the pesky GMO pollen wants to spread far afield.
This revolution is swelling because consumers have said it over and over again. They want the right to know and decide what is in their food. This revolution is not so much about food safety as it is about transparency. The age of food empowerment is upon us. Gone are the days of ignorantly consuming vast amounts of sweetly packaged fast and cheap food. As a species we are finally linking health and well-being with our food and sustenance. We are at the same time recognizing the impact that agriculture has on our water, air and our climate.
This revolution is happening in our fields and in our kitchens just in time. Support organic, support non-GMO and this revolution will continue to grow.
Find out more about the joys of Non-GMO at Simply Centered.
Contact The Just Label It Campaign to see what you can do to assure that we get mandatory national labeling.