Peeling Back the Onion: What this Election means for Food and Agriculture

yellow-onionEarly November in California signals the end and the beginning of many things. This year as the election looms, I cut and chop the last dry farm tomatoes from Molino Creek Farm. Each slice marks the conclusion of these ruby orbs of delight. I make caponata to extend the last vestiges of summer flavor in my kitchen. As I peel back the onion, I muse on its ability to make me weep and the way it will transform into a sweet caramelized crescendo.

This election has been much like an onion with its multitude of sharp layers, sometimes bitter, yet holding sweet potential for food and agriculture. Let’s peel back the layers this November to see where we can make progress in Food and Ag policy.     Continue reading

What Both Parties Ag Platforms Tell Us About the Future

Capitol HillWith both primaries behind us, it is nigh time to settle in and look beyond the chants and cheers, the ever waves of signs, the bright lights and impassioned speeches. It’s time to uncover the dirty details of where both parties stand on agricultural policy. What is the philosophical platform each one holds that will support us into our agrarian future? How do they compare with your ideas on food and farming? Let’s take a deep dive into both parties’ platforms!  Continue reading

Eat Lobby Play – Hot Policy in DC

Capitol HillMy journey from Kickapoo to Washington DC unfolded, and I arrived just in time for a shimmering May heat wave. The locals, however, were beside themselves with languid delight having just come off weeks of cold gray, rainy weather. After dusting the country mud off my boots and donning a suit, I headed over to the noteworthy Newseum – famous to many who tourist their way through town. I wasn’t here to read the daily grind, however. I arrived in Washington DC to attend OTA’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days, to educate, circulate and pontificate to Congress on all things organic. Of course dining my way around Capitol Hill was tantamount to my journey. Continue reading

Urgent! – Tell Congress not to be a Billy Goat and “Butt out of Organic!”

Capitol HillThe National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has been kicking around animal welfare standards since 2002. That’s when it first delved into the debate and passed its first recommendation clarifying rules to outdoor access for livestock in organic.  How much room should a hen have? How much pasture grass should a cow munch? Are animals allowed to spread their wings, frolic afield and have something to crow about? After much debate and years of public comment, the National Organic Program (NOP) recently issued a draft regulation on animal welfare that reflects the sentiment and intent of the organic community. Now, four companies (and their conventional agriculture trade association) want it overturned. Continue reading

Three Organic Reasons to visit Washington DC

Melody DCI am excited about attending the OTA Policy Conference and Hill visit next week, April 14-16th 2015. Not only will the cherry blossoms be at their ultimate blushing peak, but the air itself will be flush with excitement. The week that organic advocates descend upon Capitol Hill has come to be regarded as Organic Week in DC, and for good reason.  We always have a battalion of organic stakeholders armed with expert knowledge and a passion for the organic community. It’s one of the reasons that organic had so many wins in the 2014 Farm Bill! It’s nearly a sold-out event so if you haven’t already registered do try to attend. If you cannot attend, then plan some time to visit DC in the months ahead. There are three organic reasons to visit Washington DC this year! Continue reading