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

Eat, Play, Learn: My Annual Pilgrimage to Natural Products Expo-East

Many of us pass the last days of summer making an annual pilgrimage to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. We don’t come to swim through the aquarium or catch a fly ball at Camden Yards. This historic seaport is the place where all things natural and organic gather to foment and foster the trade. It’s the place to whet your business appetite with new products, educational forums and networking opportunities. Making the journey is well worth the sore feet and lack of sleep—it’s the place to make new friends and reacquaint with old buddies, assuring good business prevails. There is plenty in store this year to keep you engaged, educated and delighted. Continue reading

Unbuckling the Corn-Belt – One Drop at a Time

There is an African proverb that speaks to our modern agricultural dilemma. It is said that “dirty water cannot be washed.” Yet we continue to pollute our waters with our agricultural practices in the heartland of the continent. Corn and soy are planted in vast expanses, modified to withstand extreme applications of pesticides and herbicides. They are also reliant on vast devotions of synthetic fertilizers.

All these agricultural inputs end up in our waterways and drinking water, harming our health and the environment. There is no easy method to “wash away” these pollutants so pervasive in our waters.   Continue reading

Are You an Organic Produce Veteran? Sonny Perdue Wants You!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it is accepting nominations from fruit and vegetable industry members to fill 10 seats on the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). Originally chartered in 2001, FVIAC meets two times per year to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the many issues affecting the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. Continue reading

Food and the Gulf of Mexico – All Rivers Flow into the Sea

I was in New Orleans recently with the intention of savoring the food as much as to partake of friends and family. I set about on a culinary expedition of the Cajun-bayou kind mixed up with great helpings of French influence. The food was rich and plentiful, southern soul steeped in Louis X1V sauces. Fried chicken, okra, sausage and crawfish all graced my palate and plate.

Thus I debauched at the bottom of the mighty Mississippi, a land of plenty where the nation’s corn-basket spills out upon an ancient delta rife with issues. So I pondered… How is it that my food and the Gulf of Mexico are intrinsically connected? Continue reading