Organic Growers Occupy Ground Zero in Today’s Climate Conflagration

It’s the middle of December in what should be the wettest month of California’s rainy season. Yet windswept infernos continue to ravage the dry tinder landscape. The Santa Ana’s blow with hurricane forces whipping the flames up chaparral and ridges.

These out-of-control infernos aren’t only torching forests. The rural-urban intersection has grown, and widespread development puts more people, farms and packing houses directly in the path of destruction. The blazes are imperiling the avocado and citrus orchards, vineyards and fields of organic farms. Many are in the bulls-eye of this climatic conflagration. Continue reading

Big or Small, Does Size Really Matter?

Having spent the first 19 years of my life in Iowa, I am keenly aware of the juxtaposition of big Ag and small family farms. For the most part, Iowa is a vast rolling landscape of corn and soy, planted and harvested by one agricultural soldier with his tractor, GPS and a battery of inputs. In places like Kalona, Iowa, the Amish community farms with draft horses and wide-brimmed hats. Their small family plots produce vegetables, corn, eggs, milk and delicious cheese curds.

Both models can be certified organic if the inputs and practices align with the regulations.

As the demand for certified organic continues to surge, large-scale organic production fuels the growth of the burgeoning $50-billion industry. What are the challenges and benefits of Big Organic and Little Organic. Does size really matter for the movement? Continue reading

Give Thanks that Hope Springs Organic

I had lunch with a colleague last week, an organic advocate, businesswoman and friend. I had not connected with her in far too many years. We both built businesses and believed in organic before there was such a thing. We reminisced about the passion and energy we carried with us as we created new brands in the marketplace. We were eager to promote a different way to grow and produce food; one without harmful inputs that wasn’t dependent on big chemical companies.

We meet years later, both needing a shot of hope and a dose of gratitude. Continue reading

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

NOSB Fails to Prohibit Hydroponic and Container Growing in Organic Standards

The NOSB meeting opened with the standard introductions and agency updates. There was a palpable tension as the soil and the soilless camps huddled in separate groups outside. The topic looming large and passionately at this meeting is whether to prohibit various modes of growing outside the soil—organic hydroponics. Continue reading