Will This Year’s Farm Bill Serve Organic?

farm-bbEvery 4 years or so Congress passes a far-reaching piece of legislation that influences what food is grown, how it’s grown, and who gets access to healthy food. This, in turn, affects our soils, the quality of our water and the people who grow our food.

The Farm Bill addresses hunger, nutrition, and access to healthy local food.

It is also the primary funding for most Organic programs in the US. Continue reading

Why Did the Organic Check-off Die an Untimely Death?

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Back in 2010, I was on the board of The Organic Trade Association (OTA). At the time, we had a brilliant idea on how to grow organic agriculture. An Organic Research and Promotion Program or Check-Off would have provided an estimated $30 million annually for the organic community.

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Organic Week in DC: Why It’s More Important Now Than Ever to Be Involved

If you’ve ever walked the halls of Congress with talking points in hand, you know the thrill of democracy in action. Having the opportunity to advocate for funding or policy change with your elected Congressperson is the most important way for you to participate in the legislative process. With Farm Bill discussions underway and mid-term elections around the corner this year, it’s critical for organic proponents to show up and speak up for organic food and agriculture. Continue reading

Are We on the Brink of an Organic Crisis?

When Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) many years ago, it formed a federal advisory committee to develop and recommend organic standards and review materials in organic production. This 15-member volunteer board has worked diligently over the past 26 years updating the standards and making recommendations for continuous improvement.

Some members of Congress would like to rewrite the very meaning of what the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) does. This transparent public process, so unique to organic, is on the brink of being undermined in the next Farm Bill.    Continue reading

Policy Matters as the Organic Industry Grows

I trundled to Washington DC on my annual pilgrimage to attend OTA’s Policy Conference & Hill visit days. Dubbed “Organic Week” in Washington, it’s a 4-day extravaganza of organic industry leaders gathering to confirm our priorities and take action on the hill. This year the climate in DC was unique, awash with new leadership and new philosophies. It became apparent that as the organic sector continues to grow, it’s important that we pay attention to federal policy and show up for our fair share of funding. Continue reading