April 22nd, 1970 was the day the Earth took center stage as twenty million souls took to the streets in defense of the natural world. The rally cry was for clean air, water and soil, a society that protected the wondrously biodiverse planet we call home. Forty-seven years later, the earth is a cleaner albeit hotter orb and organic farmers play a crucial role in protecting the planet’s future. Continue reading
Its spring time in the Rockies and I am heading to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) biannual meeting which provides an opportunity for organic stakeholders to give input on proposed recommendations and discussions. These meetings can decide the fate of organic farming and manufacturing for many years to come. Indeed the very future of organic is held in the hands of the 15 individuals on the board.
So it’s important to show up. Continue reading
My humble beginnings in the organic industry began in 1976 in a small co-op in Iowa. The people were eclectic, and I was drawn to the culture as much as I was the idea of providing healthy organic foods to my community. We were a nascent movement, getting back to the land and nature. Growing, selling and eating organic foods—we were a palpable crusade of Birkenstock bedecked folks who wanted to leave the world a better place through food and agriculture.
I was involved in a bit of midwifery helping to birth the organic movement. Fast forward almost 40 years later, has the organic industry truly grown up? Continue reading
My father grew up in Iowa during the depression. Times were dire, and he witnessed much hardship and suffering. Getting enough to eat was never an issue for his family but seeing others go hungry left its psychological mark. After returning from WWII, he witnessed the Industrial Agricultural Complex taking hold in earnest, and the availability of cheap food became a patriotic goal. Generations were raised thinking cheap food was a bonus. It is proving difficult to shake that philosophy out of our food values. Continue reading
I can smell it; spring is just around the corner. While some areas of the country are still under winter’s frigid grip, elongated English cucumbers are flourishing in shade houses near the Mexican border. Tantalizing heirloom tomatoes, curvaceous eggplant and thick zucchini are growing in various mediums of soil and soil-less technologies. They fill our winter plate. Innovative farmers have figured out how to maintain vigorous populations of microbes using natural fertilizers to cultivate food in containers and other soil-less conditions (sweepingly named Bioponics). For the time being, they can market their produce as certified organic if they follow the organic regulations. All this could change in 2017.
While the “to soil or not to soil” debate rages on, does the organic community not have bigger fish to fry? Continue reading