If You Care About Organic, Show up for Organic

GrassrootsOnce again I find myself in the air racking up miles and enjoying the white cotton-ball clouds festooning my flight path. I cross the continent yet again to have meetings and presentations at Expo East. While my body is hurtling towards the delectable food, illuminating conferences and critical connections to come, my thoughts are set on the future of organic and the NOSB meetings in November. I want to make sure everyone who cares about organic shows up for organic in a meaningful way. Continue reading

Remember the Alamo? What happened in San Antonio?

AlamoMany of you may have seen the emails and headlines regarding the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting that was held in San Antonio at the end of April. The context of this biannual meeting was already askew as the fall meeting had been canceled because of the government shutdown. So there was old business and new business and changes on the agenda. The hot spring air felt ominous, like we were headed for some kind of showdown. Many activist groups and engaged individuals were very passionately opposed to some changes our National Organic Program made last fall. I pen this blog not to agree or disagree with the changes but to help engaged stakeholders understand what really changed and how this is affecting our community. Continue reading

Go out on a limb for organic apples

Organic appleUnlike other fruit we all have our favorite apple varieties and seek them out judiciously in the produce aisle. Some of us like the tart and slightly racy bite of a green Granny Smith. The more traditional among us seek the sweet comfort of the Golden Delicious or Gala. The adventurous among us have descended on the sophisticated Braeburn and Fuji varieties. The sensual Honeycrisp and Pink Lady varieties have captivated many new converts.  Surprisingly we tend to be pretty monogamous when it comes to choosing our apples and usually stick to our favorite varieties. The issue with this fierce dedication to varieties is many of them are from stocks that have huge susceptibility to disease, such as Fire Blight, which makes them increasingly difficult to grow with organic methods. Continue reading

Congress Shuts Down Organics

Organics on HoldThe media has been abuzz with news of the government shutdown and the blame game is exuberant on both sides of the aisle. In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995. There are currently 5,628 bills and resolutions before the United States Congress. Of those, only about 5% will likely become law. These statistics make the 112th Congress, covering 2011-12, the least productive two-year gathering on Capitol Hill since the end of World War II.

It’s time to take a comprehensive look at how this non-action is usurping the standard operations of the National Organic Program and the entire organic industry. Where does Organic stand in the wake of all this legislative dysfunction? Continue reading