Dear Human, Glyphosate by Any Other Name is Now a Reality

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As a follow up to my interview with Chuck Benbrook, I was astounded to see the verdict come through on the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury awarded them an astonishing $2 billion in damages for their exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and their subsequent fight with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Chuck testified in the case on April 17th, and he focused on Monsanto’s “stewardship” and lack thereof for its Roundup-brand herbicides.

Chuck comment that “This verdict will surely get Bayer’s attention. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.” His May 13thblog post, Has Bayer’s Day of Roundup Reckoning Arrived?, elaborates more on the verdict.

What does all this have to do with organic products? Herbicides like glyphosate are explicitly forbidden in organic production. Continue reading

New Organic Consumer Messaging Campaign is Nothing You Should Ever Have to Read

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The demise of a mandatory organic research and promotion check-off program at the hands of the USDA came with great disappointment.

It also kindled a fiery commitment to the idea that something must be done.

Leading companies and individuals weren’t ready to give up the idea that collectively the organic industry could raise funds for research, education and promotion. Continue reading

A Tribute to CCOF’s Cathy Calfo: Her Guiding Light Advances Organic Agriculture

2018 Cathy Calfo 2018I have witnessed Cathy Calfo’s vivacious drive since 2011 when she became the Executive Director of CCOF.  Since that time, she has been a friend, mentor, confidant and co-conspirator in advancing all things organic.

During her eight-year tenure, she achieved many policy and advocacy successes for organic agriculture in California and the Nation.

Cathy will leave the organization in March, in the good hands of Kelly Damewood.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Cathy about her work at CCOF, commitment to organic and vision for the future. Continue reading

Consider the Onion

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You may ask why I should choose to reflect on the lowly onion. So pale and strong in its commonplace role in the kitchen. It marches forth into stews and soups alongside routine bedfellows of celery, carrot and spuds. We barely give onions a second thought as we shop and chop and cook. Yet, they were once of prominent importance and played a role in love and war and cuisines of the ages. Not always so mundane were these tender, translucent orbs of pungency.

Continue reading

Organic Programs Go Adrift During Government Shutdown

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The federal government shutdown is going on its fourth week with no clear resolution in sight. According to estimates from S&P Global, the shutdown has already cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion, and If it continues two more weeks, the economic damage could surpass $5.7 billion.

The shutdown is causing issues for farmers across the nation. Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices have been closed, affecting farmers with agency loans. Food safety inspectors are working while missing paychecks, and important Ag data isn’t being collected. What does the shutdown mean specifically for the Organic Sector?

Many organic programs are left without moorings in this uncharted territory. Continue reading