The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems – 50 years Outstanding in Their Field

Nestled in the coastal range above Santa Cruz, CA. lays a living piece of history that continues to make significant contributions to organic agriculture. Dating back to 1967 when master gardener Alan Chadwick transformed the rolling chaparral into a prolific organic garden, the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) has evolved into a multifaceted research, education, and public service endeavor.  The work at their 33 acre organic farm continues to make an impact on organic producers locally and across the globe. Continue reading

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

A Tale of Ten Acres Continues – UNFI’s Agrarian Path to Local Organic Food

It’s springtime in Racine, Wisconsin and the ten acres adjacent to our distribution facility lay ready for cultivation. The cover crop planted last fall had worked its subterranean magic, suppressing thistles and weeds, building topsoil, micronutrients and loam. The prolific rains had rendered the land moist and open, ready for planting. Steve Spinner’s vision for creating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program near a UNFI facility was as close as placing a seed in the soil. The only hitch in this idyllic giddy-up was finding a suitable farmer willing to undertake the organic dream. Continue reading

Organic Growers Observe Earth Day with Every Harvest

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