It’s Time We Get Serious About Organic Farming

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been advocating for organic food and farming for more than two decades. I have worked alongside many pioneers and have seen organic farming grow from a fledgling movement available to few, into a $40 billion a year industry. Despite years of double-digit growth, the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. is struggling to keep pace with soaring consumer demand.

if we are going to grow more organic food in this country, we will need more organic farmers. That means recruiting new farmers, and helping existing farmers transition to organic. We will need to provide farmers with technical assistance. We will also need to invest in more science and research to ensure that organic and transitioning farmers are armed with high yielding, regionally adapted seeds, designed with organic systems in mind.

That is why EWG supports the organic check-off program. We are glad that so many in the organic community have been part of productive discussions about the organic check-off. One thing is clear: The organic check-off is not your father’s check-off.

It is the first such program that is not based on a specific commodity, but rather on the notion that if everyone pitches in a little, the organic community can address its shared research, education and promotion needs together.

With the funds raised, the organic community would be able to provide transitioning farmers with greater technical assistance and training to bring more acres into organic production. It would be able to fill in the research gaps left by limited federal research dollars that all too often skew toward outdated and damaging industrial farming practices. And, the check-off will ensure that the organic sector has an opportunity to educate consumers about organic and promote its benefits in the same way that major commodities like milk and pork were able to do with their consumer campaigns.

EWG not only believes that organic farming can help feed the world, we believe that organic systems and practices may be the only way to do so sustainably.

Join me in supporting the GRO Organic campaign to make this a reality. //

By Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder, Environmental Working Group | As seen in FoodTank