See you in September? The Future of the Organic Check-Off

After years of public debate and months of public comments the fate of the GroOrganic check-off now lies in the hands of the USDA. Lauded by many as the answer to organic funding needs, the program is also hotly contested by some small farmers and conventional commodity groups. With the debate now quieted, the destiny of the organic check-off could come into view as early as this fall. Continue reading

Regenerative Agriculture: How does it intersect With Organic?

The term Regenerative Agriculture has generated quite a buzz in the last several months. Farmers, ranchers and many companies across the U.S. are embracing the term as a way to heal the planet and combat climate change. Some promote it as the next big stage for food and farming calling it “Beyond Organic.” What exactly is this new farming philosophy and will it take root to become the next big food movement? What does it mean for organic?  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 Issues Riddling Organic Will Set the Stage for the 2018 Farm Bill

It was a rollicking time for organic in D.C. last week.The Senate AG Committee held a hearing on global & local markets, specialty crops, and organics as they relate to the next Farm Bill. Chairman Pat Roberts gave a hi-five to organic farmers acknowledging that “they are responding to a market signal and increasing their margins.” He also attached some scorn to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by stating “… it seems that uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program (NOP).”

What do these seemingly diverging messages from the Chairman of the House Ag Committee mean for organic in the next Farm Bill? For answers, you must understand some of the issues currently vexing the organic seal. Continue reading