NOSB Fails to Prohibit Hydroponic and Container Growing in Organic Standards

The NOSB meeting opened with the standard introductions and agency updates. There was a palpable tension as the soil and the soilless camps huddled in separate groups outside. The topic looming large and passionately at this meeting is whether to prohibit various modes of growing outside the soil—organic hydroponics. Continue reading

2017 Fall NOSB Meeting, trick or a treat?

The fall edition of this year’s NOSB meeting will be held in Jacksonville Florida, just in time for a few goblins to come groping for organic candy. We engage in this magic twice a year to give voice to the issues and engage in the rulemaking process in a transparent and diverse manner. We summon up communal consensus with a brew of public comment and a pinch of participation. Will this Halloween NOSB invoke solidarity or discord? I plan to be there to report on all the tricks performed and any special treats offered up. Continue reading

Organic Cannabis is Likely to Be a Joint Effort

California led the nation in legalizing medicinal marijuana in 1996 when Proposition 215 passed. Fast forward to November 2016 when the use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon Washington, and the District of Columbia.

According to a report by Arcview Market Research, North American sales came in at a smoking $6.7 billion in 2016 and are projected to top $20.2 billion by 2021. The industry is booming larger and faster than the dot-com era, and there is no bust in sight.  Continue reading

Can Organic Soil Trump Climate Change?

The names bluster through in a destructive alphabetical roll call, Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria. Like apocalyptic horsemen, the storms sweeping through the Atlantic all reached category four and higher. Fueled by super-warm ocean currents, this unusually active hurricane season provides devastating evidence that our planet is warming. Our climate is changing.

Agriculture is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse emissions, but we all gotta eat – right?  Now a trailblazing study, partially funded by the UNFI Foundation proves that organic agriculture is a way to feed the planet while reducing our contribution to climate change. Continue reading

Why the OTA Had to Sue USDA

It’s not something that you’d expect to hear—the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is suing the USDA. In fact, it’s an extraordinary occasion that hasn’t been witnessed before in the organic theater. But again these are extraordinary times. Most often the OTA works closely with and is an important resource for the National Organic Program, a division of USDA. They work hand in hand with the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) to increase organic exports worldwide. Why then would OTA embark upon this seemingly adversarial act? Continue reading