Brise Tencer: Research, Education and Policy is essential for Organic Agriculture

Brise Tencer is the Executive Director at the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). She has over 19 years of leadership experience working on organic food policy, farming, and research issues.

I recently caught up with Brise to learn more about the state of organic research, the impact OFRF has made through education and why policy is so important, now more than ever. Continue reading

Everyone Who Eats Should Pay Attention to the Farm Bill

Every 5 years or so Congress passes a far-reaching piece of legislation that influences what food is grown, how it’s grown, and who gets access to healthy food. This, in turn, affects the health of our topsoil, the quality of our water, and the prosperity of those who grow our food.

In addition, the Farm Bill addresses hunger, nutrition, and access to healthy local food. It is also the primary funding for most Organic programs in the US.

Congress is working on Farm Bill language now; if you eat and care about Organic, it’s time to get involved. Continue reading

Organic Fraud in the Marketplace – What it Means for You

The organic industry has been peppered with a spate of news about a few bad actors trying to sell conventional products as organic. Most notably, containers of fraudulent soybeans were found entering the US market from Eastern Europe through Turkish exporters.

This, of course, is bad for US producers who have to compete with prices created from a false supply chain.

It is also bad news for the organic industry as a whole. Every vitriolic headline casts doubt and uncertainty in the heart of the organic consumer. Continue reading

Make a Political Difference in 2018

I spent the early part of my early adult life buying, selling, and trading fresh organic produce. I was too busy building businesses and helping farmers grow theirs, to pay attention to pesky things like regulations or federal funding. Heck, I was so naïve I didn’t even know about the Farm Bill and its billion-dollar effect on food and farming.

Then in 2007, an entire universe of possibility opened up when I walked into the halls of Congress to advocate for organic funding in the next Farm Bill. I realized from that point forward that staying politically engaged is one of the most powerful ways to support the organic movement and the trade. Continue reading

The Issues Riddling Organic Will Set the Stage for the 2018 Farm Bill

It was a rollicking time for organic in D.C. last week.The Senate AG Committee held a hearing on global & local markets, specialty crops, and organics as they relate to the next Farm Bill. Chairman Pat Roberts gave a hi-five to organic farmers acknowledging that “they are responding to a market signal and increasing their margins.” He also attached some scorn to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by stating “… it seems that uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program (NOP).”

What do these seemingly diverging messages from the Chairman of the House Ag Committee mean for organic in the next Farm Bill? For answers, you must understand some of the issues currently vexing the organic seal. Continue reading