California State Congresswoman Introduces First Organic-to-School Pilot Program

flat lay photography of three tray of foods

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

California has always been at the forefront of change in the food movement. It’s the state that first passed organic regulations in 1990 and birthed the first certifier, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).

The first Farm-to-School projects also sprang forth in the Golden State in 1997, at Santa Monica-Malibu United School District and The Edible Schoolyard  in Berkeley.

At long last, both Farm-to-School and Organic-to-School may come together. On February 21st, Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry introduced AB 958 which would create the first-ever Organic-to-School pilot program in California. Continue reading

Groundbreaking Study Reveals Immediate Benefits of Eating Organic

variety of vegetables

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

Conventional wisdom would tell us that eating food sprayed with toxic chemicals can’t be good for us. Avoiding flesh or fruit grown without poisons seems like a much healthier alternative.

Now a groundbreaking study led by researchers at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and Friends of the Earth (FOE) reveals the benefits of an all-organic diet. The study, “Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Pesticide Levels in U.S. Children and Adults” found that eating organic significantly reduces the amount of measurable pesticides present in our body. Continue reading

Organic Programs Go Adrift During Government Shutdown

administration-architecture-building-129112

The federal government shutdown is going on its fourth week with no clear resolution in sight. According to estimates from S&P Global, the shutdown has already cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion, and If it continues two more weeks, the economic damage could surpass $5.7 billion.

The shutdown is causing issues for farmers across the nation. Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices have been closed, affecting farmers with agency loans. Food safety inspectors are working while missing paychecks, and important Ag data isn’t being collected. What does the shutdown mean specifically for the Organic Sector?

Many organic programs are left without moorings in this uncharted territory. Continue reading

An Organic New Zealand Odyssey

fern-1540867As you read this, I may be streaming over the largest body of water on the planet. The Pacific will beckon as I careen across the International Date Line, south to my favorite island nation, Aotearoa, literally the land of the long white cloud according to the Maori tongue. It is also known as New Zealand. Continue reading

Who Will Fund the Challenges Facing Organic Today?

Rain on plant

The political winds are against us. We are in an era of stagnating and dwindling regulatory oversight by the current administration.

Organic seems to be floundering in its own juices.

Trump’s USDA withdrew the final animal welfare rule that consumers and legitimate producers all agreed upon for over decade.

The administration meddled with the NOSB’s work plan, withdrawing work on Aquaculture, Apiculture and Pet Food. There will be no regulations to advance organic in these areas in the near future.

They killed the idea of a check-off that would have raised much-needed funds to bolster our still adolescent industry.

This is indeed an unfriendly crew cutting and slashing rules and opportunities that organic wants. Continue reading