Chickens outside, standards for shampoo, and strategies for avoiding GMO contamination—that’s just a taste of what organic farmers, businesses, and consumers are asking for. In the past 10 years, the organic industry has advanced 20 consensus recommendations for improvements to the organic standards via the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) but USDA has not completed rulemaking on a single one of them.
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.
Renewal of 2020 Sunset Reviews
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.
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.
Approximately once every five years, Congress drafts legislation to reauthorize federal feeding programs that serve children. Commonly referred to as the Child Nutrition Act, the legislation authorizes and funds the national school breakfast and lunch program, after school snacks, the summer feeding program and meals served in daycare centers.
Mike Menes is the Vice President of Food Safety & Technology for True Organic Products, and a member of Organic Trade Associations Board of Directors. He sat down with Bruce Taylor, whose company, Taylor Farms, recently acquired Earthbound Farm, to discuss values, sustainability, and Taylor’s not-so-secret wish for a drone air force.
Mike: Can you speak to the values that power Taylor Farms?
Brothers Rod and Bob Grimm founded iconic carrot brand Grimmway Farms in 1969. The company acquired Cal-Organic, a pioneering organic grower, from founder Danny Duncan in 2001. Organic Trade Association Board Member and Pioneer Emeritus of Organically Grown Company David Lively first visited Cal-Organic in 1985 when it was only a few acres, and Danny was preparing to certify 300 acres the next year. Lively recently talked organic, carrots and pride with Grimmway’s President Jeff Huckaby on the occasion of Grimmway’s 50th anniversary.
Organic Trade Association members face the challenge head-on with innovative initiatives
Planting trees in the Peruvian Amazon, working with dairy farms to improve soil health, transforming farmland to regenerative agriculture, installing new solar panels, designing fully recyclable or compostable food packaging, reducing food waste. Ambitious, diversified, visionary projects underway by organic companies, with one common goal – to fight against climate change.