The Evolution of “Ponics” in Organic

This fall the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet in Jacksonville, Florida. Once again they will take up the subject of Hydroponic, Aquaponic, container and Bioponic production in organic. The fruition of this meeting may be to include or revoke these growing methods or to simply come up with definitions to clarify the process. However the NOSB decides these fit into the organic ecosystem is anyone’s guess, so it behooves all producers to understand the evolution of the dialogue, the differing views and the “Ponics” themselves.  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

Summertime and the Living is Easy…. It’s Gazpacho Time!

Heirloom tomatoesSummertime…the cucumbers are growing and the tomatoes are high. Your kitchen’s hot and your Cuisinart is hungry, so hush ‘what’s for dinner?’  Gazpacho―it’s your summer ally!

Continue reading

I’ve Discovered Organic Gold!

Got Organic?In these days of hyper information we are literally swamped with a plethora of labels on our food differentiating various attributes. From Fair Trade, Free Range, Natural, Non GMO, to low fat and Gluten Free, the array of claims have become encyclopedic. How are consumers supposed to know the best option? I think it’s time we communicate that the organic seal is the gold standard! It should be celebrated and promoted as the consumer’s premier choice! Continue reading

Mr. Organic: Q&A with Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program

Miles Smiling in a Strawberry Field (2)It’s hard to find anyone who knows more about organic policy than Miles McEvoy. Miles began working in organic agriculture for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in 1988. Prior to that, he spent 10 years working on farms, with fisheries and in forests.  He says this background provided him with valuable context on the keys to sustainably producing and harvesting food, while still running a successful business. His perspective is a unique one, in that it combines the idealism of a grassroots farmer and environmentalist with the knowledge of someone who’s spent years working within WSDA and now the USDA.

I recently sat down with Miles for an interview on topics ranging from organic history to new initiatives to challenges for our industry. Below is the first part of the two-part interview. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Continue reading