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

Dispatch from Washington, D.C.: New Beginnings

Melody DCI traveled to Washington, D.C. in early December to attend the SAFSF policy conference and hill visits. The newly elected 114 Congress had not yet been seated. Once seated, nearly half of them will have been in office for four years or less.  They will need to be educated. The current lame duck congress was in the midst of passing an omnibus bill, this year dubbed “cromnibus” for its ability to fund the government and enter into continuing resolution which means it extends the funding for only a limited period of time. I thought I was there to deliver my messages, well prepared and strong on federal GMO labeling and funding for organic agriculture.  Instead the message I received was more profound than anything I was about to deliver. Continue reading

2014 An Organic Odyssey Only Just Begun

The Organic JourneyIt’s hard to believe, but we are already flying past the middle of 2014. For organic, it hasn’t been an aimless trajectory. It’s been an auspicious year so far for organic agriculture and organic products, with several wins in the Farm Bill and from the USDA. The Organic Associations’ 2014 Industry Survey showed that organic grew to an astounding $35.1 Billion and future growth is likely to keep pace or exceed the growth rate in 2014. Let’s take a midyear pause and look at how the organic industry is shaping up and where the challenges lie on this fantastic organic journey. Continue reading