Is the USDA Label Strong Enough for All Organic Growers?

In response to my blog earlier in the week I sat down with the Coalition for Sustainable Organics (CSO) . They’re a group of growers committed to maintaining the USDA’s current high standards for certifying organic produce. They advocate for the continued allowance of containerized growing methods under the National Organic Program while enabling growers to select the most appropriate production system for their specific site and commodity needs.

They believe that everyone deserves organic produce, and growers must continue to find ways within the organic framework to expand supply.

Lee Frankel is the Executive Director of CSO. He recently elaborated on the current state of hydroponic and container growing in the US organic standards and the movements to create additional add-on labels in the organic marketplace. Continue reading

Do We Need Another Organic Label?

Last fall the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) made the decision not to prohibit hydroponic and container growing methods in organic production. This decision left some members of the organic community infuriated and galvanized. They vowed to dig in and create a label that meant something more than the USDA seal. After a few short months, the Real Organic Project (ROP) was formed by farmers and advocates who say that they are reclaiming the original meaning of organic. Continue reading

Are We on the Brink of an Organic Crisis?

When Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) many years ago, it formed a federal advisory committee to develop and recommend organic standards and review materials in organic production. This 15-member volunteer board has worked diligently over the past 26 years updating the standards and making recommendations for continuous improvement.

Some members of Congress would like to rewrite the very meaning of what the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) does. This transparent public process, so unique to organic, is on the brink of being undermined in the next Farm Bill.    Continue reading

Kashi – Making a Difference for Farmers & Cereal Bowls across the Land

The average consumer isn’t always aware of what’s behind the organic label. Some don’t realize the USDA organic seal is backed with regulations and standards that are strictly enforced. With so much consumer confusion, is it wise to thrust another label into the already crowded market?

Kashi’s Certified Transitional program aims to help farmers and fill cereal bowls one acre at a time. Continue reading

Why I serve on California’s State Organic Program Advisory Committee

Before there were USDA organic regulations, the forward-looking state of California passed its own organic regulations in 1990. Today, California is the only state in the U.S. with its own State Organic Program (SOP) that provides enforcement and regulatory activities within the State; much like the National Organic Program (NOP) does for the rest of the country..

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) established the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) to advise the Secretary of CDFA on enforcement and other organic activities in California. Continue reading