Why Did the Organic Check-off Die an Untimely Death?

Back in 2010, I was on the board of The Organic Trade Association (OTA). At the time, we had a brilliant idea on how to grow organic agriculture. An Organic Research and Promotion Program or Check-Off would have provided an estimated $30 million annually for the organic community.

Continue reading

Congressman Jimmy Panetta Reflects on Organic and The New Crop Greening His District

I have been lucky enough to live on the Central Coast of California for most of my adult life. Indeed the very essence of its rich agricultural landscape has profoundly shaped my career and belief systems. I was fortunate to connect with my Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who has also been touched by growing up on the Central Coast.

From artichokes to strawberries to lettuce to wine grapes, the Central Coast is the epicenter of organic agriculture producing over $5 billion annually. The community of farmers and farm workers that tills this fertile area produces more than 100 different crops and helps give the area its moniker “the Salad Bowl of the World.” Continue reading

Organic Week in DC: Why It’s More Important Now Than Ever to Be Involved

If you’ve ever walked the halls of Congress with talking points in hand, you know the thrill of democracy in action. Having the opportunity to advocate for funding or policy change with your elected Congressperson is the most important way for you to participate in the legislative process. With Farm Bill discussions underway and mid-term elections around the corner this year, it’s critical for organic proponents to show up and speak up for organic food and agriculture. Continue reading

Spring 2018 NOSB Meeting – Hope of Unity


I make the biannual pilgrimage to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting flying straight into the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Tucson, AZ is the first US city to be honored with a UNESCO Capital of Gastronomy designation.

This place has one of the oldest food heritages on the continent dating back to the ancient O’odham people who once planted maize and beans.

Amongst a landscape of prickly pear cacti and sagebrush, 1 million people now celebrate a vibrant culinary scene.

And so, this meeting which holds the balance of organic agriculture is conducted in a desert filled with food. Continue reading