OTA’s Export Promotion Program, now dubbed U.S. Organic Worldwide, was awarded record-high USDA funding totaling $1,389,393 for calendar year 2016. The award is split between two grant programs: $889,393 for the Market Access Program (MAP), and $500,000 for Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC).
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.
OTA’s Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) enters into its third year stronger and broader than ever. Its membership includes OTA farmer members and organic farmer- governed organizations from coast to coast and across all sectors of the industry. Discussions at FAC meetings are going more in-depth than ever before, eliciting thinking and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing agricultural related issues. With the strong and diverse participation, 2016 is shaping up to be an ambitious year for FAC.
Around 14 percent of all U.S.-produced carrots are now organic—making carrots one of the highest ranked crops based on the total percentage produced organically, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In three different positions with organic food companies, Michael O’Gorman made his mark, becoming responsible for $200 million in organic produce over a 40-year period. When 9/11 hit, his life started to move in another direction. His daughter was working across from the Trade Center when the planes hit. His son responded by joining the military. The effect on his children’s lives prompted O’Gorman to see how he could help the men and women who served his country.
A significant limit to the continued growth and sustainability of the U.S. organic industry is a gap in domestic supply of organic ingredients and raw products. The growth of organic acreage in the U.S. has never kept pace with demand for organic products and increasing amounts of imports continue to fill the gap.
Bob Quinn has been an organic wheat farmer in Montana for 30 years. Through the years, he’s spoken at countless meetings and workshops, written articles, given interviews on organic, and he says never in his three decades of practicing—and advocating—organic has he received as many questions about transitioning to organic agriculture as he has in the past six months.
Still a small portion of the organic fiber business in the United States, organic wool is starting to see some gains in the marketplace here. OTA member Jagger Brothers of Springvale, Maine, markets organic wool yarn certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) which it spins from organic wool imported from South America. The yarn is organically dyed at the GOTS certified Saco River Dyehouse, also in Maine, and brought back to Jagger Brothers for distribution. It is then marketed as The Green Line from Jagger Spun, a division of Jagger Brothers, as hanks for hand knitting and as one-pound cones for machine knitters and weavers.
From the day Amy’s Drive Thru opened on July 20, the turnout for the organic and vegan fast food restaurant in Rohnert Park, California, has been extraordinary. Although the new eatery began with a soft opening, customers waited hours its first days. The volume was many times more than Amy’s had anticipated.
As its name implies, OTA member Esperanza Threads brings hope through the gift of sewing. In 2000, returning to Cleveland, Ohio, after working in Native American missions in Montana, Sister Mary Eileen Boyle contemplated what she would choose for the next step in her life’s calling. An Ursuline Sister of Cleveland—an order whose mission is to transform lives through contemplation, justice, and compassion, she wanted to start something that would transform lives while respecting the earth and follow a holistic philosophy.