Make a Comment to Support the Organic Check-Off Program

GROOrganic.large-logoLike it or not we are well into a new year and a new federal government. Despite the many changes and sometimes uncertain paths, I believe the organic community is poised for  growth should it decide to adopt an Organic Check-off program.

USDA recently published the first draft of a proposal in the Federal Register. Then just after his inauguration, Donald Trump  ordered a freeze on all pending regulations not yet in affect. The new administration will take pause and review all new regulations during the next sixty days. Since this program is self funded by the industry and will cost the federal government nothing, I believe it will move forward. Continue reading

Honoring Those Who Serve It Forth – Our Agricultural Workers

credit Richard Thornton ShutterstockI live and work in California, the farming capitol of the world; hub of agriculture, intersecting food, chefs and farmers. It is the state which produces the most food in the country, home to the world’s smallest and largest organic farms, and boasts the greatest diversity in farming systems and farm workers. Yet the lack of food and agricultural literacy is tremendous, and the bond between the farm worker and the eater is ill understood. Continue reading

Seven Reasons to Make The Holiday Organic

Holiday BaubleThe tilt of our magnificent globe has brought us round leaning towards the darkness. Thus we seek out colored lights, baubles, tinsel and song. This whirl of the winter solstice means the light will once again be born, and so we celebrate. You may lavish gifts, or sing choruses of carols. The glow of the menorah may light up your latkes. Or perhaps you are one who with great humbuggery rejects the entire pageant and go on a tropical vacation. However you celebrate this winter holy darkness, be you Christian, Jewish or Pagan, there are several ways you can add an organic twist to your holiday jig. Continue reading

A Glimmer of Hope in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture

The Organic JourneyI’m writing this from the Sustainable Ag and Food System Funders (SASFS) policy conference in Sacramento, California. I sit amongst a group of foundations and philanthropic funders who envision a world in which food and agricultural systems enhance and sustain the well-being of people, animals, and our planet—now and into the future. I am here as the executive director of the UNFI Foundation whose mission is to advance organic agriculture in North America. As I participate in the discussion, I realize there is much to be hopeful for as we move forward into an era of great political change.  Continue reading

The Rich History & Bright Future of Biodynamic

demeter-green-125x200Last July I had the great pleasure of visiting Germany and Austria as an organic ambassador with the Foreign Ag Service. As I interloped between embassies and ministries, I was able to savor the hearty cuisine and imbibe the most precious wines and beers. What I came to discover during my culinary indulgences was that almost all of the organic faire was Biodynamic. I soon learned that this wasn’t just another organic certification but an entire philosophy, one that beholds the farm as a healthy, living, breathing organism. The very nugget of Biodynamic is that the farm can be a self-contained and self-sustaining entity, responsible for creating and maintaining its own individual health and vitality. Continue reading