Viewpoint on Organic Hemp: a potential alternative to GMO crops?

As consumers wake up to the national debate of GMO labeling, possible links of high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, and larger dead zones caused by chemical runoff, another movement is building in the sidelines: the effort to find and implement new, even revolutionary agronomy practices that can replace current unsustainable systems, and be scaled to meet growing demand for healthful foods, renewable textiles and biomass.

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Things you may (not) know about OTA’s Board of Directors

Besides her many accomplishments in the organic sector, Kelly Shea of WhiteWave Foods majored in Ancient Japanese Theater. Samantha Cabaluna of Earthbound Farm, who plays guitar, used to be in an all-girl rock band called Amazon Mollies. Tony Bedard, CEO of Frontier Co-op, loves working on his 40-acre farm where he is restoring 20 acres of native prairie and taking care of over 800 trees that he has planted. Meanwhile, David Lively of Organically Grown Company is a comic strip aficionado.

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Showcasing U.S. organic at this year’s World’s fair

OTA was proud to take part in the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy, during October. The theme of this year’s international exposition was “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life,” exploring the huge task of finding a balance between meeting the nutritional needs of the global population and respecting the planet.

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OTA develops strong network in Japan

OTA co-hosted an all organic BBQ at the U.S. Consular General Allen Greenberg’s residence in Kobe, Japan. A first of its kind, the luncheon brought together key industry players and thought leaders from Japan’s growing organic industry. Monique Marez, OTA’s Associate Director for International Trade, and Melody Meyer, a member of OTA Board of Directors, led an information session and discussion on U.S. trends, and ways to import more USDA certified products.

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United States and Switzerland sign equivalency arrangement

Swiss consumers purchase more organic products per capita than any other consumer population in the world. They are the fourth largest market for organic products in the world after the United States, Canada, and the European Union and responsible for 3 percent of global purchases of organic in 2014. Now, U.S. organic farmers have streamlined access to this active market through an organic equivalency arrangement.

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“Myth-Busting Month”campaign reaches 15 million consumers

Fact: You can eat organic on a budget. Fact: Organic agriculture can help feed the planet. Fact: There are proven health benefits of organic. These are three of the more than 30 research-backed facts that OTA and partners digitally disseminated each day in September as part of its highly successful “Myth-Busting Month” social media festival.

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Organic award winners: Inspired and inspiring

Organic Farmer of the Year Benny McLean of Uncle Matt’s Organic says it makes him feel good to see his 12 grandkids work in the soil and learn how healthy food is grown. Growing the Organic Industry recipient Tom Harding of Lehigh Valley Organic Growers says after 30 years advocating for organic, he still feels like he’s just beginning the trek for organic. And Rising Star winner Michael Berger of Elevation Burger says his commitment to advancing organic and selling healthy fast food to American consumers has never been stronger.

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Organic Roots are spreading in Washington

From the East Wing of the White House to the Halls of Congress, organic is spreading its roots in the nation’s capital. Today’s crop of organic influencers is making a difference in agricultural policy, federal legislation, international affairs, food and health guidelines, public research approaches, and environmental issues. The number of organic advocates in Washington has probably never been greater, including individuals with genuine down-to-earth roots in certified organic agriculture. In this edition, we are profiling a handful of these folks who are making their voices heard. These hard-working and committed individuals show how organic truly is seeding changes—in the food we eat, the way we think, and the future of our world.

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