The Organic Grower Summit – The Time Has Finally Come for this Event

The first time I encountered organic was circa 1976 in a little co-op in Iowa. Not only were we happily bagging herbs and cutting the cheese but we were encouraging our local farmers to grow organic food. Fast forward to 2017, and organic sales were $47 billion last year. The number of certified organic farms and businesses has reached 24,650 certified entities. Producers from across the continent supply the raw agricultural products that fuel this tremendous growth. The time has finally come for organic growers to congregate and cultivate relationships with each other along with service experts and supply providers.   Continue reading

Food and the Gulf of Mexico – All Rivers Flow into the Sea

I was in New Orleans recently with the intention of savoring the food as much as to partake of friends and family. I set about on a culinary expedition of the Cajun-bayou kind mixed up with great helpings of French influence. The food was rich and plentiful, southern soul steeped in Louis X1V sauces. Fried chicken, okra, sausage and crawfish all graced my palate and plate.

Thus I debauched at the bottom of the mighty Mississippi, a land of plenty where the nation’s corn-basket spills out upon an ancient delta rife with issues. So I pondered… How is it that my food and the Gulf of Mexico are intrinsically connected? Continue reading

Biodiversity: Past and Future in Organic Farming

It was in the fertile crescent of Anatolia, a mere 10,000 years ago that the world changed forever. One of our hunter-gathering relatives noticed a few errant wheat seeds sprouting on the footpath where she had previously carried her bounty. She soon realized that saving a few seeds and purposely planting them would lead to regular forages of future wheat.

The dawn of agriculture began thus modestly one seed and species at a time. Agriculture and the taming of all-things-wild spread like a bushfire transforming human culture and the landscape. The very biodiversity of the planet was in peril as agriculture took hold and it’s taken us quite some time to look back. Continue reading

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