Congressman Jimmy Panetta Reflects on Organic and The New Crop Greening His District

I have been lucky enough to live on the Central Coast of California for most of my adult life. Indeed the very essence of its rich agricultural landscape has profoundly shaped my career and belief systems. I was fortunate to connect with my Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who has also been touched by growing up on the Central Coast.

From artichokes to strawberries to lettuce to wine grapes, the Central Coast is the epicenter of organic agriculture producing over $5 billion annually. The community of farmers and farm workers that tills this fertile area produces more than 100 different crops and helps give the area its moniker “the Salad Bowl of the World.” Continue reading

Brise Tencer: Research, Education and Policy is essential for Organic Agriculture

Brise Tencer is the Executive Director at the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). She has over 19 years of leadership experience working on organic food policy, farming, and research issues.

I recently caught up with Brise to learn more about the state of organic research, the impact OFRF has made through education and why policy is so important, now more than ever. Continue reading

Organic Fraud in the Marketplace – What it Means for You

The organic industry has been peppered with a spate of news about a few bad actors trying to sell conventional products as organic. Most notably, containers of fraudulent soybeans were found entering the US market from Eastern Europe through Turkish exporters.

This, of course, is bad for US producers who have to compete with prices created from a false supply chain.

It is also bad news for the organic industry as a whole. Every vitriolic headline casts doubt and uncertainty in the heart of the organic consumer. Continue reading

Make a Political Difference in 2018

I spent the early part of my early adult life buying, selling, and trading fresh organic produce. I was too busy building businesses and helping farmers grow theirs, to pay attention to pesky things like regulations or federal funding. Heck, I was so naïve I didn’t even know about the Farm Bill and its billion-dollar effect on food and farming.

Then in 2007, an entire universe of possibility opened up when I walked into the halls of Congress to advocate for organic funding in the next Farm Bill. I realized from that point forward that staying politically engaged is one of the most powerful ways to support the organic movement and the trade. Continue reading

Trump Administration Runs Afoul on the Organic Animal Welfare Rule

I’m not inclined to use inflammatory headlines, but this is really ruffling my feathers. On December 18th the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its intention to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule. This action defies the very process Congress mandated for the organic seal. It represents a full assault on the integrity of the organic label. Continue reading