Why didn’t the UN Climate Report Offer Organic Farming as a Solution?

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We’ve all felt it; the dog days are expanding their territory, lasting longer and showing their teeth more often.

According to NOAA, eight of the ten warmest years on record have occurred within the past decade. 2016 was the warmest year in the history of instrumental observation, and 2017 was the warmest year without an El Niño influence.

If the current greenhouse gas emissions rates persist, it will result in the continuation of the global temperature increase.

The Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C will require transformational challenges – especially in land use and farming. It is unattainable with our current practices,

On August 8th,the UN Climate released its special report on Climate Change and Land Use.  It held dire warnings; unless we change the way we eat and farm, we are all in for a bit of trouble. Continue reading

Can Organic Agriculture Save the Insects and Our Gardens? A New Study Suggests It Can

animal bee bloom blooming

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I begin with a confession. This summer is the second time I have tended a garden since I was a child alongside my grandfather. For most of my adult life, I was too busy trading organic faire, building businesses—doing what I could to heal the planet through food and agriculture.

I am enjoying this garden with its prolific beans, squash, tomatoes and red Peruvian corn. It’s aswarm with bees, pollinators and insects who work to seed the bounty.

With all I’ve read about the mass extinction of insects, it makes me ponder. What would happen to my garden if they all disappeared? Continue reading

Are New Genetically Modified Techniques the Future of Food and Farming?

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I first met Jim Thomas, Co-Director of the ETC Group, at a Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders conference.  Jim had been tracking emerging technologies and their intersection with food and agriculture for some time. When I first heard him speak, in his lilting almost playful cadence, about something called “synthetic biology,” my ears perked up.

He was talking about a new form of genetic engineering that can alter genetics on a worldwide scale – one with little or no government oversight.  Continue reading

Dear Human, Glyphosate by Any Other Name is Now a Reality

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As a follow up to my interview with Chuck Benbrook, I was astounded to see the verdict come through on the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury awarded them an astonishing $2 billion in damages for their exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and their subsequent fight with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Chuck testified in the case on April 17th, and he focused on Monsanto’s “stewardship” and lack thereof for its Roundup-brand herbicides.

Chuck comment that “This verdict will surely get Bayer’s attention. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.” His May 13thblog post, Has Bayer’s Day of Roundup Reckoning Arrived?, elaborates more on the verdict.

What does all this have to do with organic products? Herbicides like glyphosate are explicitly forbidden in organic production. Continue reading

A Tribute to CCOF’s Cathy Calfo: Her Guiding Light Advances Organic Agriculture

2018 Cathy Calfo 2018I have witnessed Cathy Calfo’s vivacious drive since 2011 when she became the Executive Director of CCOF.  Since that time, she has been a friend, mentor, confidant and co-conspirator in advancing all things organic.

During her eight-year tenure, she achieved many policy and advocacy successes for organic agriculture in California and the Nation.

Cathy will leave the organization in March, in the good hands of Kelly Damewood.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Cathy about her work at CCOF, commitment to organic and vision for the future. Continue reading