Organic battles climate change

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.  

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The Country Hen’s evolution to raising hens outdoors

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.

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GRO Organic investments explore technical assistance

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.

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Organic Produce Perspective: Talking with Bruce Taylor of Taylor Farms

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?

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Organic Produce Perspectives: Talking with Jeff Huckaby of Cal Organic/Grimmway 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.

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A Call for Food Movement Cooperation

Mark Winne has 45 years of experience in the food movement, starting in 1971 as a college student when he successfully raised $300 to start a local breakfast program for low-income children. Since that success, he has overseen the Hartford Food System, co-founded the Community Food Security Coalition, serves as a Senior Advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future, and is a popular speaker and author of several books.

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Perspective from a grain farmer-scientist

In an introductory letter to GRAIN BY GRAIN: A Quest to Revive American Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food, Jaime Jennings writes, “You hold in your hands the story of an unsung hero. Bob Quinn is a straight-shooting, small-town farmer who turned his family farm into an organic multimillion dollar heirloom grain company.”

President and Founder of Organic Trade Association member Kamut International, Quinn, who co-authored the book with Liz Carlisle, shares his practical wisdom from a lifetime of farming--and scientific discovery.

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Training organic trainers

Clif Bar and Pipeline Foods are stepping up to spearhead a much-needed program to train agricultural professionals working with organic or transitioning farmers. The project, supported by the Organic Trade Association’s industry-invested organic research, promotion and education GRO programming, is called the Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS), will launch this spring in the Midwest.

Clif Bar has provided a cornerstone donation of $50,000 for the project, while Pipeline Foods has spearheaded a broad coalition to implement the project.

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Products from rotational crops

In 2018, Organic Grain Collaboration Grain member and organic food company Annie’s unveiled two new products featuring ingredients from rotational crops used in organic grain production. Its “Limited Edition” line features graham crackers made from hard red winter wheat and oats, and macaroni and cheese made with durum wheat and golden peas, and reflects a partnership with two organic farmers in Montana.

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