The Issues Riddling Organic Will Set the Stage for the 2018 Farm Bill

It was a rollicking time for organic in D.C. last week.The Senate AG Committee held a hearing on global & local markets, specialty crops, and organics as they relate to the next Farm Bill. Chairman Pat Roberts gave a hi-five to organic farmers acknowledging that “they are responding to a market signal and increasing their margins.” He also attached some scorn to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by stating “… it seems that uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program (NOP).”

What do these seemingly diverging messages from the Chairman of the House Ag Committee mean for organic in the next Farm Bill? For answers, you must understand some of the issues currently vexing the organic seal. Continue reading

California Organic – A Vision for the Future

Image from CCOF

I moved to central California as a teenager with the unlikely intention of following the Grateful Dead. I landed instead in the most fertile region of the Golden State. Rich with Salinas Valley loam and Central Valley  heat, I arrived in the fruit and vegetable capital of the world. At the same time, organic agriculture was spreading its influence across the bountiful landscape, creeping into strawberry production, baby lettuce mixes, sweet peaches and pears. California was the cradle of organic agriculture, nurturing an agrarian child that would quickly grow to be a formidable presence. Is it possible that in the near future we can make organic the prevailing system of food and agriculture in California? Environmental Working Group (EWG) believes it is so! Continue reading

Denver Urban Gardens – A Bright Light in the Mile High City

This past spring I took some time away from the rigors of the NOSB meeting in Denver to visit one of the UNFI Foundation’s grant recipients. For over 32 years Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) has facilitated community access to unique growing spaces in neighborhoods throughout the area. The gardens empower people to have increased food security and better nutrition, improving economic security. Their hyper-local approach is creating shimmering urban vitality with organically grown food. 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

Genetic Modification is not plant breeding, it’s genetic gambling!

OrangeppleSoon after humans began the ancient practice of saving seeds, the process of selecting seeds likely soon followed. I can imagine the earliest agriculturists saving and replanting the seeds that were the biggest and came from the most robust plants. Those seeds were more likely to have better yields and resist frost or drought. Occasionally Mother Nature took care of the natural selection with weather events that left only those healthier, more resistant, seeds to be re-planted. Fruits that were bitter or small were cast aside for those that were sweeter and juicier. Grains or beans that were easier to store or preserve were favored. Continue reading