Meet Rhyne Cureton: The Next Generation of Future Organic Leaders

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I first met Rhyne Cureton at the “We Are Organic” CCOF Foundation dinner. He was the guest speaker as a CCOF Foundation 2018 grant recipient. He grew up in Charlotte, NC and attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

I recently interviewed him. I first asked him to share what prompted him to choose agriculture as his career, and he said, “I always had an interest in working with animals. So, I transferred to A&T as an animal science major. I came to realize that agriculture is basically the fundamentals of human survival of civilization. It’s the background of all economics—the bread and butter of civilization. Agriculture isn’t just about farming; it’s about economics, energy research, education. It encompasses everything we do—whether it’s the clothes on your back, your housing and especially what you eat.” Continue reading

Time to Exhale, Organic Cannabis Regulations are Coming

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In June 2017 the California Legislature passed SB 94 which made the recreational use of cannabis products legal for adults over 21 years of age. Since cannabis is an agricultural product, it was left to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to stand up the regulations.

Buried deep inside the hundreds of pages of text was a clause that mandated CDFA to create an organic cannabis program by 2021.

The time remaining will go by like a whiff of smoke and CDFA is quickly preparing to meet the deadline.

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Alcohol and Organic Farming – Methane, Frogs and People on Mars

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I was lucky enough to visit Whiskey Hill Farms and Blume Distillation this summer. I was blown away by the scope of this 14-acre certified organic farm. Not only are they the largest producer of domestic turmeric, but they provide answers to the food waste dilemma by producing high-grade commercial alcohol. I soon learned that everything that comes from the distillery goes right back into the farm! Continue reading

It’s Time to Support Future Organic Farmers

I have been honored to be the Executive Director for the UNFI Foundation since its inception in 2012. Early on my board asked me how we could bring together like-minded Foundations to make a larger impact in our priority areas, together as a community.

I began holding monthly calls with other funders who supported organic agriculture and we all coalesced around the idea of fostering new organic farmers. We were concerned that the average age of the US farmer was over 65 and we knew that organic farming provided a clear path to prosperity.

When Cathy Calfo from the CCOF Foundation joined those funders’ calls she immediately resonated with the idea. How could we make a difference and grow the next generation of organic farmers? Continue reading

The Organic Grower Summit – The Time Has Finally Come for this Event

The first time I encountered organic was circa 1976 in a little co-op in Iowa. Not only were we happily bagging herbs and cutting the cheese but we were encouraging our local farmers to grow organic food. Fast forward to 2017, and organic sales were $47 billion last year. The number of certified organic farms and businesses has reached 24,650 certified entities. Producers from across the continent supply the raw agricultural products that fuel this tremendous growth. The time has finally come for organic growers to congregate and cultivate relationships with each other along with service experts and supply providers.   Continue reading