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

Headwinds and Hope : Organic Week in DC

Capitol Hill

This not so much a factual account of my week in DC but rather a philosophical musing of the state of organic today.

I knew full well the political atmosphere in DC when I arrived—it is muddled with shear turbulence. So too the organic industry is experiencing a bumpy trajectory even as it streams ahead with over 6% growth.

Organic has been under a barrage of political threats and media scandals that just don’t seem to stop. Continue reading

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

watermelon
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.

Continue reading

Congressman Jimmy Panetta Reflects on Organic and The New Crop Greening His District

I have been lucky enough to live on the Central Coast of California for most of my adult life. Indeed the very essence of its rich agricultural landscape has profoundly shaped my career and belief systems. I was fortunate to connect with my Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who has also been touched by growing up on the Central Coast.

From artichokes to strawberries to lettuce to wine grapes, the Central Coast is the epicenter of organic agriculture producing over $5 billion annually. The community of farmers and farm workers that tills this fertile area produces more than 100 different crops and helps give the area its moniker “the Salad Bowl of the World.” Continue reading

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