For years, organic stakeholders have repeatedly called on USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to take significant steps to improve oversight of organic systems and enforcement of the USDA organic regulations. The need for this action stems from a rapidly expanding organic market, high demand for organic products, an increasingly complex supply chain, and unfortunately, the growing occurrence of organic fraud.
Currently, all eyes are on the food sector, and in particular, its ability to adapt to the pandemic and to meet the needs of American consumers through our farmers. As the COVID-19 pandemic exposes vulnerabilities throughout our food system, it highlights the call for resiliency at all points in the supply chain to meet the needs of consumers.
Acting on a recommendation of the association’s Farmers Advisory council (FAC), the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association has voted unanimously for congressional action on two tracks to help farmworkers now and in the future. The trade association seeks both passage for immigration reform giving undocumented farmworkers a pathway to legal status, and action to safeguard the well-being of these workers during the current coronavirus outbreak.
In these chaotic times marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, social and economic upheaval, and already record-breaking extreme weather events taking their toll on crops and communities, people are thinking more about what it takes to be resilient. In the biological world, resilience has always been the critical underpinning for a healthy environment. Organic farming provides that resilience, and helps farms and whole ecosystems bounce back in the face of biological disturbance, particularly in the context of environmental disasters associated with climate change.
Finding solutions to plastic pollution is a growing concern for many organic companies--and consumers. For Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics on California’s Central Coast, using non-plastic packaging is a choice he made more than three years ago for packing berries and vegetables.
“A lot of our customers were concerned about the use of plastic clamshell packaging, and it was also a personal concern for me,” he says.
As shifts in food and ag proliferate, organic stays relevant and sets the bar
Last holiday season, we hosted over a two-week period our Keto-eating millennial relative (LOTS of meat), our vegan/plant-based friend (NO meat), along with other various flexitarian (SOMETIMES meat, depending on the day), grass-fed-milk-drinking (self-explanatory), Weight Watchers-following (Purple plan -- count the points!) and I’ll-eat-anything family members and acquaintances. The one common thread in all the menu preparations? As much organic food and organic ingredients as possible.
The Country Hen was founded by George Bass after his experiences running a commercial poultry operation, complete with its own feed mill, in Bogota, Colombia. The feed ingredients available were grown using heavy amounts of pesticides and herbicides. This weighed heavily on him and, after reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” he was inspired to produce eggs based on natural and organic principles, making life better for the birds as well as reducing the chemical exposure for humans.
The Organic Trade Association’s Member Day in D.C. in May. kicked off with a crucial discussion on the long-term challenge of providing technical assistance for organic production. Members heard about two major initiatives, both focused on “training the trainers” to expand the supply of organically fluent educators.
Across the value chain, organic producers, processors, retailers, consumers, and other stakeholders are actively engaging to advance organic standards and federal oversight to maintain a strong, trusted, and verified Organic seal.
For well over a decade, organic dairy farmers have been waiting for consistent rules for transitioning dairy livestock to organic.
The organic regulations allow conventional dairy animals to be transitioned into organic production after being raised organically for one year prior to milk being sold as organic. This was meant to be a one-time allowance so that dairy farms had the opportunity to convert their farm to organic without having to purchase an entirely new herd.