Cornucopia Institute http://www.cornucopia.org Economic Justice for Family Scale Farming Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:20:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Essential Steps to Sustainable Eatinghttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/5-essential-steps-sustainable-eating/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-essential-steps-sustainable-eating http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/5-essential-steps-sustainable-eating/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:18:59 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13345 Care2 by Jenna Zimmerman On our planet of 7 billion people, everyone must eat in order to survive. Food is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It is a pillar of our lives upon which all else depends. As our youth move into adulthood, feeding the world in a way that is sustainable for both people and the planet will only become more difficult, but necessary. With this in mind, student-led non-profit Teens Turning Green has

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Care2
by Jenna Zimmerman

pgc-2014-logoOn our planet of 7 billion people, everyone must eat in order to survive. Food is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It is a pillar of our lives upon which all else depends. As our youth move into adulthood, feeding the world in a way that is sustainable for both people and the planet will only become more difficult, but necessary.

With this in mind, student-led non-profit Teens Turning Green has developed an easy acronym, FLOSN, which it has implemented in the Conscious Kitchen, an initiative that provides nutritious, sustainable and scratch-cooked meals to public school students while educating them about conscious food choices. FLOSN stands for Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Non-GMO, terms you’ve likely heard before, that reflect the organization’s philosophy on how food should be grown, produced and consumed.

But FLOSN isn’t just for kids. These are terms to live by. Make them a part of your life, and you’ll be on your way to eating foods that are good, in every sense of the word.

1. Fresh - Food tastes the best and packs the most nutritional punch when it has the shortest journey from the farm to your fork. Fresh produce gives you comprehensive nutritional benefits without the preservatives or chemicals found in processed foods. Tip: Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store, and check to see where your food is coming from.

2. Local – As Michael Pollan has said, “Shake the hand that feeds you.” The average produce travels approximately 1,500 miles from farm to plate, requiring a massive amount of fuel and energy. But produce that’s grown in your community doesn’t have to travel far at all, and by supporting local farmers you support your local economy. Tip: Check out your local farmers market, CSAs and green grocers. Of course, don’t forget: it doesn’t get more local than your own garden!

3. Organic – Organic products are free from harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that lead to the pollution of air, soil and water. Buying certified organic means prioritizing your health and supporting farmers and businesses that do the same. Tip: Look for a #9 on bar codes, which indicates that an item is organic. And keep an eye out for the USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Verified and Fair Trade labels.

4. Seasonal – As the seasons change, so too should your ingredients. Buying foods that are in-season and opting for seasonal specials when you go out to eat means your meal wasn’t shipped from another hemisphere to get to you. Tip: Check out Care2′s guide to September seasonal produce options.

5. Non-GMO – Results of independent studies find GMO foods to be toxic, allergenic and nutritionally inferior to their organic counterparts. They’re engineered to withstand pesticide and herbicide use, increasing our dependence on them and perpetuating a vicious cycle. GMOs snuck onto our supermarket shelves with Flavr Savr tomatoes in 1994, and they have dominated our food supply ever since. The long-term implications of GMOs on people and the planet are unknown, and once released into nature, the process can never be reversed. In fact, most of today’s students have been consuming GMOs their entire lives without their knowledge. Tip: Any USDA Certified Organic food or product is also non-GMO.

ou may have heard one or more of these terms before, but what about the students in your life? Are they eating FLOSN foods in their dining halls and cafeterias? Do they know why these ideas are not only important, but vital to their future and the rest of the world?

Share this with them, and if they want to learn more, tell them about Project Green Challenge. PGC is a month-long eco lifestyle challenge beginning on October 1 that empowers thousands of students globally to realize their visions for a healthy, just and thriving planet. Participants complete fun, informative and mobilizing challenges each day for 30 days on topics such as non-GMOs, organic and fair trade. In the process, they effect changes in their own lives, on school campuses and in local communities.

Finalists will be flown to San Francisco for a one-of-a-kind, three day eco summit, and the PGC Champion will win a Grand Prize package valued at more than $12,000.

Please encourage the students you know to sign up now for this year’s challenge! It will be the beginning of an unforgettable journey toward becoming an active global citizen and finding an authentic voice for change.

Jenna Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of the Conventional to Conscious blog and vice president of the Teens Turning Green Student Advisory Board.

Teens Turning Green is a student led global movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools and communities. TTG seeks to engage youth in the transition from conventional to conscious living, empowering this generation and mobilizing action to sustain a healthy planet.

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Urban Agriculturehttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/urban-agriculture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=urban-agriculture http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/urban-agriculture/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:50:47 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13341 The Lexicon of Sustainability Jacksonville Skyline, Image Credit: CillanXC Over 80% of Americans live in urban areas. Urban agriculture is a story of growing food on windy rooftops, in once vacant lots and empty warehouses. As Eli Zigas of San Francisco’s SPUR explains it: “Urban agriculture’s real contribution is…in the number of people it touches who can then understand and learn about food, how we grow it and how it feeds us.” Novella Carpenter knows the story. Alongside other urban

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The Lexicon of Sustainability

JacksonvilleMSSkyline CillanXCJacksonville Skyline, Image Credit: CillanXC

Over 80% of Americans live in urban areas. Urban agriculture is a story of growing food on windy rooftops, in once vacant lots and empty warehouses. As Eli Zigas of San Francisco’s SPUR explains it: “Urban agriculture’s real contribution is…in the number of people it touches who can then understand and learn about food, how we grow it and how it feeds us.”

Novella Carpenter knows the story. Alongside other urban farmers, Novella grows nutritious food on the vacant lot of an impoverished West Oakland, California community that would otherwise be a food desert. Will Allen knows it, too. He’s sprouted a good food revolution in Milwaukee and it’s growing across the Midwest.

On the East Coast, MIT’s CityFARM has gathered engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists to explore and develop new ways to grow food in highly-urban areas with less chemical inputs. In New York City, Jon Feldman and Eddie Diaz’s beekeeping operation was once illegal, but the buzz they created shifted local policy around urban apiaries, benefiting urban farmers, backyard gardeners, and bees suffering from colony collapse. Their neighbor, Ben Flanner, of Brooklyn Grange Farm knows the challenges of urban farming. Though the Grange is located entirely on rooftop gardens, it soars, supplying produce to local restaurants, at farmers markets and a local CSA.

Craig Ruggless and Gary Jackemuk of Winnetka Farms practice hyper-local food production, turning the backyard of their suburban home in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley into a sprawling urban farm. Perhaps Seattle Urban Farm Company’s Colin McCrate says it best, “Y.I.M.B.Y., Yes! In my backyard!”.

Like these urban farmers, Mary Seton Corboy of Greensgrow Philadelphia Project knows, “You have to plant yourself along with your seeds right in the community that you’re trying to serve.”

Dr. Wayne Roberts, former director of the Toronto Food Policy Council, has spent a great deal of time considering how cities, food and people intersect and how we might feed the world’s expanding population.

Nourish Initiative Chef Bryant Terry’s lends insight into the rise of urban farming and its importance in building healthy communities, engaging young people, and bringing fresh, homegrown food to cities.

Southern Foodways Alliance highlights the cultural implications of urban farming with Jones Valley Urban Farm, while Sara Fulton-Koerbling, also based in the South, shares a story about the Arkansas-based collective to which she belongs to encourage people to start their own local urban gardening groups.

These tales of urban agriculture are strengthened when we use an even wider lens. Perennial Plate takes us to urban farms in China with “Tale of Two Cities”, Food Tank> explores how urban agriculture can help Central American cities, and Sustainable Food Trust >explores what a rooftop revolution looks like.

Inspired? Wondering how you can activate urban farming in your area? Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health student, Melissa Poulsen’s thoughtful research on “Integrating Urban Farms into the Social Landscapes of Cities” may provide a few answers. Share your own insights and discoveries about urban farming by joining the Food List!

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10-Year-Old Girl Has Severe Allergic Reaction To Pesticides In Her Blueberry Piehttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/10-year-old-girl-severe-allergic-reaction-pesticides-blueberry-pie/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-year-old-girl-severe-allergic-reaction-pesticides-blueberry-pie http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/10-year-old-girl-severe-allergic-reaction-pesticides-blueberry-pie/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:02:29 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13337 Modern Farmer by Dan Nosowitz Credit: thebittenword.com For the first time ever, someone has gotten sick from a pesticide used on the fruit that went into her pie. A 10-year-old Illinois girl was treated for anaphylactic shock caused by a severe allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie, but for weeks doctors couldn’t figure out what caused it. Though she suffered from asthma and seasonal allergies, she’d consumed nothing, thought the doctors, that would have caused

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Modern Farmer
by Dan Nosowitz

Credit: thebittenword.com

For the first time ever, someone has gotten sick from a pesticide used on the fruit that went into her pie.

A 10-year-old Illinois girl was treated for anaphylactic shock caused by a severe allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie, but for weeks doctors couldn’t figure out what caused it. Though she suffered from asthma and seasonal allergies, she’d consumed nothing, thought the doctors, that would have caused an allergic reaction. The doctors dug more deeply into the pie, and found their culprit: for the first time ever, a patient suffered an allergic reaction to pesticides used on a crop in a cooked dish.

The pesticide at fault is streptomycin, used commonly in the US as a pesticide on apples and pears, but also on other fruits like blueberries. It’s mostly used to fight a disease called “fireblight,” which can decimate fruit trees, as well as a general-purpose pesticide to combat bacteria, fungi, and algae. The Environmental Protection Agency allows streptomycin in wide use in American farms, stating in a fact sheet that repeated testing on animals has found that it is minimally dangerous at worst.

The EU, however, disagrees; it has been banned in Europe since 2004 except in rare cases of “clear and present danger,” like when fireblight is destroying an entire orchard.

“As far as we know, this is the first report that links an allergic reaction to fruits treated with antibiotic pesticides,” said Anne Des Roches, the lead author on the study, which is published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. It’s important here to note that this is not a trend, that it is an extremely rare case. That said, it certainly may motivate legislators to take a closer look at the legality of certain pesticides: if we can’t trust our blueberry pie to be free of dangerous pesticides, clearly something needs to change! Because we love blueberry pie.

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Zero-Calorie Sweeteners May Trigger Blood Sugar Risk By Screwing With Gut Bacteriahttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/zero-calorie-sweeteners-may-trigger-blood-sugar-risk-screwing-gut-bacteria/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=zero-calorie-sweeteners-may-trigger-blood-sugar-risk-screwing-gut-bacteria http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/zero-calorie-sweeteners-may-trigger-blood-sugar-risk-screwing-gut-bacteria/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:21:20 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13333 Artificial sweeteners don’t have calories — so why are these mice getting fat? The Verge by Arielle Duhaime-Ross Credit: Punching Judy When artificial sweeteners are in the news, it’s rarely positive. In the last few years, sweeteners have been linked to everything from Type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Still, products like Splenda and Sweet‘N Low remain a cornerstone of many a weight-loss strategy, mostly because doctors don’t quite understand

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Artificial sweeteners don’t have calories — so why are these mice getting fat?

The Verge
by Arielle Duhaime-Ross

Credit: Punching Judy

When artificial sweeteners are in the news, it’s rarely positive. In the last few years, sweeteners have been linked to everything from Type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Still, products like Splenda and Sweet‘N Low remain a cornerstone of many a weight-loss strategy, mostly because doctors don’t quite understand how sweeteners contribute to disease. That may soon change, however, as results from a study, published today in Nature, point to a possible mechanism behind these adverse health effects.

“Our results suggest that in a subset of individuals, artificial sweeteners may affect the composition and function of the gut microbiome” in a way that would lead to high blood-sugar levels, said Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Health in Israel and a co-author of the study, during a press conference yesterday. This, the researchers say, is bad for human health because when sugar levels are high in the blood, the body can’t break it down, so it ends up being stored as fat.

To reach these conclusions, Elinav and his team first tested the effect of three common artificial sweeteners — aspartame, sucralose, saccharin — on rodents. They found that each of the sweeteners induced a change in blood sugar levels that surpassed that of the mice who consumed actual sugar. And later tests involving the main sweetening agent in Sweet‘N Low, saccharin, yielded similar results in both lean and obese mice.

But mammals don’t actually digest artificial sweeteners — that’s why they’re “calorie-free” — so the reasons why these mice were experiencing blood-glucose alterations was still mysterious, Elinav said. Still, the researchers had an idea: maybe the bacteria that lived in the guts of the mice were interacting with the sweeteners.

So the researchers performed several experiments to test their idea. In one, they gave antibiotics to mice who had been fed sweeteners regularly. Antibiotics kill gut bacteria, and when these mice had their microbial guests cleaned out, their blood sugar levels went back to normal. In another experiment, the scientists transplanted feces — a rich source of gut microbes — from sweetener-fed mice into rodents that had never consumed artificial sweeteners. The procedure caused the recipient mice to experience oddly high blood glucose, like the mice in the sweetener group. Finally, Elinav and his colleagues used genetic analysis to reveal that alterations in the composition of microbial colonies were also accompanied by changes in bacterial function — changes that could very well explain why the mice were experiencing such high blood sugar.

But findings in mice aren’t nearly as convincing as findings in people, so the researchers set out to investigate human sweetener consumption. In the first experiment, the researchers analyzed the blood-sugar levels and gut bacteria colonies of 381 participants. And, as expected, Elinav and his colleagues found that people who consumed sweeteners in large quantities also showed disturbances in several metabolic parameters — including increased weight — as well as distinct microbial changes in their guts.

The results from the second, much smaller human experiment might actually be the most illuminating.

“We followed for a single week a group of seven human volunteers who do not consume sweeteners as part of their normal diet,” Elinav said. During that period, the researchers gave them a single dose of saccharin, and monitored their vitals. After just four days, half the participants showed microbial alterations and increases in blood sugar levels, he explained, “while the other subset had no meaningful effect immediately following the consumption of sweeteners.”

In other words: some people are more susceptible to the effects of artificial sweetener than others.

A causal link

The handful of studies suggest that consuming non-caloric artificial sweeteners boosts the risk glucose intolerance in both humans and mice, as a result of changes in gut microbe function, the researchers wrote in their report. Yet, because of the preliminary nature of their results and the small number of human participants involved, they stopped short of suggesting that people change their eating habits. “By no means are we prepared to make recommendations as to the use and dosage of artificial sweeteners based on the results of this study,” said Eran Segal, a study co-author also at the Weizmann Institute of Health.

Other researchers, however, were more forthcoming.

“People need to be much more mindful of what they are eating and drinking and make efforts to avoid products that have added sweeteners in any form” said Susan Swithers, a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue University who wasn’t part of the Nature study, in an email to The Verge. The studies showed not only a causal link between the changes in the gut and artificial sweeteners, but that the observed changes happen quickly, she wrote.

Not everyone agrees with the design the researchers used to address the question about artificial sweeteners and weight gain. Christopher Gardner, a food scientist at Stanford University who didn’t participate in the study, says that the fact that the researchers gave the FDA’s maximal acceptable daily intake of saccharin to the human participants — about 5 mg / kg body weight per day — isn’t ideal. In a real-life setting, that dose would be the equivalent to a 150-pound person consuming 42 12-ounce sodas per day, or 8.5 packets of pink Sweet ‘n Low per day. “That may be ‘acceptable’ according to some set of guidelines,” Gardner wrote in an email, “but it should be noted that realistically this is a very high dose they are using and one that wouldn’t be consumed by a typical consumer.”

Still, the idea that we might finally have an explanation for the adverse health effects seen in certain sweetener studies is worth paying attention to. Should the findings prove reproducible, doctors will be tasked with understanding why some people are susceptible to microbiome alterations, while others aren’t. And sweetener companies will have to address the criticism — in addition to rethinking their marketing strategies. “The work is important,” Swithers said, “because it underscores the role that artificial sweeteners may play in contributing to the very problems they were designed to help.”

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Cornucopia: USDA Maintains Pattern of Corporate Appointmentshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/cornucopia-usda-maintains-pattern-of-corporate-appointments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cornucopia-usda-maintains-pattern-of-corporate-appointments http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/cornucopia-usda-maintains-pattern-of-corporate-appointments/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 02:03:33 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13327 Organic Governance Undermined by Cozy Relationship with Agribusiness Lobbyists One of the nation’s preeminent organic industry watchdogs, The Cornucopia Institute, expressed renewed criticism of the process used for the selection of four new appointees to the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The NOSB is a 15-member volunteer board composed of various organic stakeholders that makes decisions regarding any synthetic materials allowed for use in organic agriculture and food production and also advises the USDA

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Organic Governance Undermined by
Cozy Relationship with Agribusiness Lobbyists

One of the nation’s preeminent organic industry watchdogs, The Cornucopia Institute, expressed renewed criticism of the process used for the selection of four new appointees to the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The NOSB is a 15-member volunteer board composed of various organic stakeholders that makes decisions regarding any synthetic materials allowed for use in organic agriculture and food production and also advises the USDA Secretary on policy.

cornucopia-we-own-it-button“The selection process was conducted in secrecy despite requests to cast sunlight on the decision making and solicit input from a very engaged community of organic farmers, businesses, and consumers,” said Will Fantle, Cornucopia’s Codirector. “We think a more transparent process would ensure the selection of the best and brightest for the various vacancies on the board — instead of, once again, appeasing the organic corporate lobby.”

Cornucopia has been critical of past appointments that were more representative of the agribusiness sector than meeting requirements detailed in the federal law that created the board, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA).  As powerful food processing interests have increasingly sought to add synthetic and non-organic materials to foods, the NOSB has become a focal point of controversy over what some deem a watering down of organic integrity.

Under both the Bush and Obama administrations the USDA has violated OFPA by appointing agribusiness executives, instead of those “owning or operating” a certified organic farm, to sit in seats intended to represent farmers. Currently, two of the four “farmers” on the board were employees of large agribusinesses when appointed.

“Congress deliberately set aside the majority of seats for independent organic stakeholders as a way to prevent the kind of unseemly corporate influence we have witnessed in recent years on the NOSB,” Fantle lamented.

Arkansas Egg CAFO

The new farmer-appointee, Ashley Swaffer, is an employee of Arkansas Egg Company, a large industrial-scale, vertically-integrated producer of eggs based in Summers, Arkansas.

“Although Ms. Swaffer may technically meet the qualification set forth by Congress, in that she is involved in managing Arkansas Egg’s operation, I doubt if Congress had in mind stacking the board with agribusinesses historically operating ‘factory farms’ as representing the nation’s organic producers,” Fantle added.

When learning she had been passed over for an appointment to the NOSB, Wisconsin dairy farmer Rebecca Goodman said, “I am a hands-on organic dairy farmer working with my animals and land every day. I guess I am not suave enough to serve my fellow organic farmers. After three attempts, I will not be applying again.”

At least four other experienced, family-scale farmers had applied for the vacancy on the board in addition to Ms. Goodman.

A seat reserved for an organic “handler” manufacturer was filled by Tom Chapman, a purchasing manager with Clif Bar in Emeryville, California.

Unlike the appointment to the farmer seat, which Cornucopia challenged, the farm policy research group articulated disappointment in the appointment of an employee of Clif Bar, a company that sells a minimal amount of their product line as certified organic.

“The USDA Secretary could have chosen a representative of a company that sells 100% organic products, rather than a company that offers manufacturers less than 20% of their product line in a certified organic form,” stated Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for The Cornucopia Institute.

The balance of Clif Bar’s other products either do not qualify for any organic labeling or are labeled “made with organic ingredients.”

Many companies in the natural foods marketplace can qualify for “made with organic” labeling by choosing organic for the majority of their cheaper ingredients (such as oats in a food bar) while sourcing more expensive ingredients in conventional form or adding synthetic materials that would not be allowed in products labeled certified organic.

In addition to conventional ingredients many Clif Bar products contain synthetic and non-organic materials such as soy protein isolate and milk protein concentrate (MPCs).

“Maybe it’s a general conflict of interest to have companies that are primarily involved in non–certified organic manufacturing, sitting on the National Organic Standards Board,” Kastel added. “Clif Bar’s product line is basically competing with companies, at a higher price point, that are truly organic. If they are using lots of ingredients that are not presently approved for organics, will they be predisposed to open up organic production for increased use of synthetics?”

In addition to Chapman and Swaffer, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also appointed Lisa de Lima, of Grandville, Maryland, with MOM’s Organic Market, to fill the retailer seat. The Secretary appointed Paula Daniels, a Los Angeles lawyer who sits on a number of public panels, to serve in the environmentalist/conservationist slot.

Both Fantle and Kastel emphasized that their current concerns and disappointments are aimed at the USDA Secretary and the appointment process rather than the individual appointees.

“We look forward to working with all these individuals, and unless proven otherwise, we will assume, that their motivation to serve on the board is in the interest of all,” said Kastel. “We will support their volunteer efforts, just as we have supported all board members, with research materials enabling them to make good judgment calls on behalf of the organic community.”

MORE:

“I have been waiting to hear from the NOP [National Organic Program] at the USDA about their next selections for the NOSB since September 1,” said Rebecca Goodman, a Wonewoc, Wisconsin, dairy farmer.  “I never dreamed that I would hear through The Cornucopia Institute.”

In 2008 and 2009, while converting their 800,000-bird operation to organic production, Arkansas Egg was the subject of enforcement actions by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Last year they signed a consent decree with the state of Arkansas and the EPA related to remediating problems concerning manure and liquid waste.

If there is a common thread in the new appointments it is the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the industry’s business lobby.  Three of the four appointees work for operations that are OTA members.

“For a volunteer board, the work of the NOSB is quite demanding, consuming 8-12 hours a week, and much more during the twice yearly full meetings of the board,” observed Fantle.  “We respect anyone who wants to take on this responsibility.  It is our hope that the new appointees will rise above any biases in their backgrounds and work in good faith for the entirety of the organic community and organic food and agriculture.”

Cornucopia recently released a scorecard of the voting records of NOSB members.  The analysis seeks to capture voting patterns over the past five years that encourage or weaken organic integrity, and it notes distinct tendencies from various stakeholder interests.   It illustrated a decisive split between legitimate farmers, representatives of nonprofit organizations, and other independent stakeholders, as opposed to members of the NOSB representing corporate agribusiness. It can be found at: http://www.cornucopia.org/nosb-voting-scorecard/.

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California Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farmshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/california-guide-labor-laws-small-farms/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=california-guide-labor-laws-small-farms http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/california-guide-labor-laws-small-farms/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:23:22 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13322 Farm Commons by Rachel Armstrong NCAT/ATTRA, in collaboration with California Farmlink, has produced a booklet that outlines the things all growers should know about labor regs, and use of volunteers, apprentices, and interns.  This free publication can be found at: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=461 The guide is intended to help farmers become familiar with the labor laws that govern California agriculture as they pertain to having someone work on your farm, whether in an educational capacity or not. It

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Farm Commons
by Rachel Armstrong

CA Guide to LaborNCAT/ATTRA, in collaboration with California Farmlink, has produced a booklet that outlines the things all growers should know about labor regs, and use of volunteers, apprentices, and interns.  This free publication can be found at:
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=461

The guide is intended to help farmers become familiar with the labor laws that govern California agriculture as they pertain to having someone work on your farm, whether in an educational capacity or not. It includes basic information about farm labor law as well as discussion of alternative options for small growers who host interns or have an apprenticeship program.

While this guide is written for California and does not discuss the labor laws in other states, the information on federal laws and alternative options may be applicable in all states and may help lay the foundation for understanding state-specific requirements.

For-profit farms that use volunteers are taking risks.  To further emphasize this, here is a story about a California farm that was fined $115,000 for violations extending from the use of volunteers. 

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USDA Ignores Risks for Farmers; Approves Dow’s Controversial Genetically Engineered Corn and Soybean Seedshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/usda-ignores-risks-farmers-approves-dows-controversial-genetically-engineered-corn-soybean-seeds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=usda-ignores-risks-farmers-approves-dows-controversial-genetically-engineered-corn-soybean-seeds http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/usda-ignores-risks-farmers-approves-dows-controversial-genetically-engineered-corn-soybean-seeds/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:04:56 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13294 Pesticide Action Network by Paul Towers Image courtesy of Lars Plougmann Today the US Department of Agriculture granted Dow AgroSciences approval of its controversial new herbicide-resistant, genetically engineered corn and soybean seeds known as Enlist. The seeds have been engineered to withstand applications of the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D. Using Dow AgroScience’s projections in its final report, USDA predicts 2,4-D use in corn and soybean production to increase between 500% and 1,400% from 2011 to 2020, depending on

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Pesticide Action Network
by Paul Towers

Image courtesy of Lars Plougmann

Today the US Department of Agriculture granted Dow AgroSciences approval of its controversial new herbicide-resistant, genetically engineered corn and soybean seeds known as Enlist. The seeds have been engineered to withstand applications of the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D. Using Dow AgroScience’s projections in its final report, USDA predicts 2,4-D use in corn and soybean production to increase between 500% and 1,400% from 2011 to 2020, depending on farmers’ practices and changes in Dow’s share of corn and soybean seed markets.

Dow’s proposed introduction of the 2,4-D-resistant seeds two years ago immediately unleashed a firestorm of protest, with nearly half a million farmers, farmworkers, health professionals and concerned individuals from across the country voicing opposition. Fruit and vegetable farmers are particularly concerned that 2,4-D drift will lead to frequent and extensive crop damage. However, USDA continues to ignore the crop damage likely to accompany the projected increase in 2,4-D use. Instead, the agency is focused exclusively on whether the seeds themselves—but not the herbicides that go with them—might pose a threat to other crop plants.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, released the following statement:

“The USDA approval of Enlist after such a fundamentally flawed review process is a slap in the face to farmers. Thousands of farmers have warned USDA of the crop damage, economic losses and health risks they will face from pesticide drift, if these 2,4-D resistant seeds hit the market. Instead of taking farmers’ concerns seriously, and evaluating the entire suite of harms that these pesticide-GE seed combinations pose, USDA focused its approval process on questions that were sure to result in an easy approval for Dow’s new money maker – showing once and for all where Secretary Vilsack’s loyalties lie. It’s time for a change: we need a USDA that serves farmers, not Dow and Monsanto. PAN will pursue all available legal options to protect American farmers and rural residents.”

Press contact:
Paul Towers, PAN North America, (916) 216-1082, ptowers@panna.org

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This Twenty-Something Hopes to Unleash the Next Green Revolutionhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/twenty-something-hopes-unleash-next-green-revolution/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=twenty-something-hopes-unleash-next-green-revolution http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/twenty-something-hopes-unleash-next-green-revolution/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:35:24 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13290 Modern Farmer by Andrew Jenner In 2010, a young man on a quest for enlightenment walked into the office of Jerry Hatfield, director of the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. His name was John Kempf, and he was eager to learn more about Hatfield’s plant physiology work, which deals with the complicated interactions of plants, soils and the atmosphere. The two talked agronomy for several hours before Hatfield sent Kempf on

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Modern Farmer
by Andrew Jenner

AEAlogoIn 2010, a young man on a quest for enlightenment walked into the office of Jerry Hatfield, director of the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. His name was John Kempf, and he was eager to learn more about Hatfield’s plant physiology work, which deals with the complicated interactions of plants, soils and the atmosphere.

The two talked agronomy for several hours before Hatfield sent Kempf on his way with a stack of literature to devour. The visit was just one of many steps on Kempf’s journey, which had begun six years earlier in a blighted cantaloupe patch. Desperate to rescue his family farm from worsening disease and pest problems, Kempf dove into deep-end science, looking for solutions he couldn’t find in the conventional farming playbook.

In the process, Kempf became a staple on the alternative-ag lecture circuit and the CEO of a rapidly growing consulting firm that his followers hail as the next best thing in sustainable, profitable agriculture. The most hopeful even say that he and his company offer a glimpse of a better farming future, uniting the best that our various schools of agricultural thought have to offer.

Kempf is just 26 years old. He is also Amish, and has only an eighth grade education.

***

Once he finished school at age 14, Kempf went to work on his family’s fruit and vegetable farm in northeastern Ohio, overseeing irrigation, plant nutrition and herbicide and pesticide applications. In the fields, Kempf used horses instead of a tractor, with a sprayer powered by a small Honda engine.

It was a trying time for the family. Pests and disease were ravaging the crops, and Kempf found himself mired in escalating chemical warfare against them, with little success. Things hit a low point in 2004, when well over half of the Kempfs’ mainstay crops – tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and cantaloupes – were lost. With the family staring at an increasingly bleak financial situation, Kempf, then 16, set off on his mission to relearn everything he’d been taught about farming.

He began by looking closer at one of that year’s few bright spots: the fact that some cantaloupes on a piece of land directly adjacent to the Kempf farm had actually done well. That year, the Kempfs had run rows of cantaloupe from their old fields to the new one, which had not been subjected to years of heavy chemical application. The results, as Kempf describes them in one of his YouTube videos, were jarring.

On the old field, powdery mildew struck with a fury. But directly on the other side of the boundary – which showed up as clearly as “a knife line,” says Kempf in the video – were identical plants cared for in an identical manner and yet which remained completely, gloriously healthy.

Unwittingly, it served as a rigorously controlled experiment. The variable was the differing histories of chemical use on either side of the property line, and Kempf looks back on it as his Eureka moment.

Why, he wondered, did the plants on the new field thrive, while the others withered? And why, more generally, were pest and disease problems on the farm getting steadily worse, despite Kempf’s best efforts to spray them into oblivion? He dug into periodicals like the Soil Science Society of America Journal and Biology and Fertility of Soils. He picked the brains of knowledgeable people. He identified gaps in his knowledge and then he chased them all down: botany, pathology, entomology, physiology, immunology, etc.

Kempf felt that the answers to his questions did indeed exist, but that the folks who held them had their noses so deep in their own work they were missing the bigger picture.

“Agricultural research and education has focused on areas of specialty,” says Kempf. “Many of [these scientists] believe that the answer to agricultural challenges lies within their own area of research, and they don’t communicate with each other.”

Kempf, though, was eager to communicate with all of them as he systematically worked to find, understand and synthesize these disparate bits of knowledge into a unified understanding of soil and plant health that he could apply to the farm. And although he was still a teenager who’d never even taken a ninth-grade science class, he found that scientists like Hatfield were eager to work with him.

“I was taken seriously,” Kempf says, “because I was able to ask really intelligent questions and I didn’t tell anyone how old I was.”

***

Kempf quickly began to suspect that the chemical-drenched farming methods he’d been using were causing, not helping, his problems.

“A lot of materials used in corporate agriculture have the capacity to enhance plant growth and performance, but they suppress soil biology,” he says.

The scorched-earth tactics he’d employed with his pesticides and herbicides, he realized, had worked all too well. The microbial life critical to healthy soils had become collateral damage. Afterwards, in a best-case scenario, Kempf could coax his cantaloupes and other crops to acceptable yields only by practically drowning them in fertilizer. He threw this approach out the window. Instead, by focusing on creating healthy soils, he’d let plants do what plants have evolved to do best when they’re given a fighting chance: grow like crazy.

By 2006, Kempf had quit pesticides altogether and was spending an increasing amount of time talking about his ideas with scientists and farmers all over the country. His father issued an ultimatum: Stop talking or make some money doing it.

Kempf picked the second option and founded his crop consulting company, Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA) in 2006. His spiel, in a nutshell:

Healthy soils support healthy plants. Healthy plants have healthy immune systems that fend off disease. Finally, according to Kempf, plants with healthy immune systems are more nutritious. (There isn’t, however, solid scientific evidence directly linking healthy soils with more nutritious food, primarily because there isn’t an agreed-upon scientific definition of “healthy soil.”) AEA also says its approach allows farmers to realize yield gains of between 10 and 30 percent and that eliminating the need for pesticides drives farm costs down.

Kempf eschews the phrase “sustainable” because that would imply there’s much worth sustaining about the current state of farming. Instead, he calls his approach “regenerative agriculture.” He occupies a curious niche, advocating that farmers ditch pesticides while simultaneously critiquing organic farming. Mainstream organic agriculture, says Kempf, is all about “negative certification” and is preoccupied with what farmers aren’t allowed to do – no GMOs, no chemical pesticides, no this, no that, etc. While that ensures that organic products are largely free of pesticides, it provides no assurance that crops in an organic farmer’s field are thriving, or that organic produce is healthier than its conventional counterparts, according to Kempf.

His approach is more proactive. AEA sells all sorts of products intended to improve soil and plant health in some form, and takes sophisticated measurements to monitor plants’ health throughout the growing season. It is simultaneously a throwback to pre-industrial agriculture and an embrace of its latest technological innovations.

People are responding to this philosophy. Growth has been rapid; Kempf says AEA now has about 30 employees and a few thousand clients across the country.

Larry Keefer, a lifelong farmer who plants 500 acres of soybeans, wheat and corn west of Lansing, Mich., is among the growing number of AEA clients who have become believers in the approach.

“I just consider this a new and better way of [farming],” says Keefer, who has experimented with different non-conventional techniques for nearly two decades.

One of Keefer’s most valuable crops is a high-grade, non-GMO soybean used to make tofu in Japan. His bushel-per-acre yields are typically in the high 40s. Last year, he gave AEA a try on a 40-acre test plot and harvested 59 bushels per acre – an increase that will “add up in a hurry” to the bottom line.

He says he was the first in his area to sign on with AEA; this year, at least 10 others have joined him.

***

Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about Kempf, though, is the way he walks a line between the divided ideologies in agriculture today, eschewing rhetoric in favor of results.

In its aversion to chemicals, focus on a healthy agricultural ecosystem and emphasis on quality over quantity, AEA calls to mind crunchy, tie-dyed farming. But Kempf, from a conventional farming background himself, also uses the same “feed-the-world” talk as Big Ag, and the AEA website is free of the feel-good organic lingo that Michael Pollan calls “supermarket pastoral.”

Kempf, a recognized expert in agronomy and soil science who quit school after the eighth grade, is himself something of a stereotype-defying guy. As a member of the Amish church, he neither drives a car nor travels by airplane; as the CEO of a rapidly growing consulting outfit, he employs the services of a New York PR firm and maintains a sleek, culturally aware presence on Twitter and the blogosphere. He runs AEA alongside the company’s chairman, Phillipe van den Bossche, an investor who lives in Manhattan, who previously worked for Madonna, and who readily acknowledges that he and Kempf are from “opposite ends of the spectrum.”

Kempf says he intends to convert 10,000 conventional farmers to his AEA program by 2016. Those familiar with Kempf and his ideas say he’s headed in that direction.

“I see [his approach] as sort of a ‘new mainstream’ in agronomy, as opposed to the old N-P-K approach,” says Michael McNeil, a crop consultant from Iowa who has known Kempf for years and who believes it’s just matter of time before regenerative agriculture catches on more widely. “As the profit margins get less and less for the farmer, they’re going to start looking for other ways to survive. And spending a lot of money on agri-industry is not working for them.”

For his part, Kempf says his ultimate goal is to “impact the quality of food” and “to see these regenerative models of agriculture become the accepted model of agriculture around the world.”

In other words, he plans to take regenerative agriculture so mainstream that the two become one in the same.

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A Touching Story: Ancient Conversation Between Plants, Fungi and Bacteriahttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/touching-story-ancient-conversation-plants-fungi-bacteria/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=touching-story-ancient-conversation-plants-fungi-bacteria http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/touching-story-ancient-conversation-plants-fungi-bacteria/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:56:27 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13285 Science Daily University of Wisconsin-Madison Image Credit: Mathias Erhart The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some of the most fundamental symbiotic relationships in biology. In fact, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that plants may have never moved onto land without the ability to respond to the

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Science Daily
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Image Credit: Mathias Erhart

The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some of the most fundamental symbiotic relationships in biology. In fact, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that plants may have never moved onto land without the ability to respond to the touch of beneficial fungi, according to a new study led by Jean-Michel Ané, a professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Many people have studied how roots progress through the soil, when fairly strong stimuli are applied to the entire growing root,” says Ané, who just published a review of touch in the interaction between plants and microbes in the journal Current Opinion in Plant Biology. “We are looking at much more localized, tiny stimuli on a single cell that is applied by microbes.”

Specifically, Ané, Dhileepkumar Jayaraman, a postdoctoral researcher in agronomy, and Simon Gilroy, a professor of botany, studied how such a slight mechanical stimulus starts round one of a symbiotic relationship — that is, a win-win relationship between two organisms.

It’s known that disease-causing fungi build a structure to break through the plant cell wall, “but there is growing evidence that fungi and also bacteria in symbiotic associations use a mechanical stimulation to indicate their presence,” says Ané. “They are knocking on the door, but not breaking it down.”

After the fungus announces its arrival, the plant builds a tube in which the fungus can grow. “There is clearly a mutual exchange of signals between the plant and the fungus,” says Ané. “It’s only when the path is completed that the fungus starts to penetrate.”

Mycorrhizae are the beneficial fungi that help virtually all land plants absorb the essential nutrients — phosphorus and nitrogen — from the soil. Biologists believe this ubiquitous mechanism began about 450 million years ago, when plants first moved onto land.

Mechanical signaling is only part of the story — microbes and plants also communicate with chemicals, says Ané. “So this is comparable not to breaking the door or even just knocking on the door, but to knocking on the door while wearing cologne. Clearly the plant is much more active than we thought; it can process signals, prepare the path and accept the symbiont.”

Beyond fungi, some plants engage in symbiosis with bacteria called rhizobia that “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to the plant.

Rhizobia enable legumes like soybeans and alfalfa to grow without nitrogen fertilizer.

When Ané and his colleagues looked closer, they found that rhizobium symbiosis also employs mechanical stimulation. When the bacterium first contacts a root hair, the hair curls around the bacterium, trapping it.

The phenomenon of curling has been known for almost 100 years. “But why would nature develop such a complicated mechanism to entrap a bacterial colony?” Ané asks. “We propose the purpose is to apply mechanical stimulation” so the plant will start building a home for the rhizobium — for mutual benefit. “We have preliminary evidence that when the entrapment is not complete, the process of colonization does not happen,” he says.

Again, the two-step communication system is at work, Ané adds. “The curling process itself can only begin when the plant gets a chemical signal from the bacterium — but the growing tube inside the root hair that accepts the bacteria requires something else, and nobody knew what. We propose it’s a mechanical stimulation created by entrapping, which gives the bacterial colony a way to push against the root.”

In many respects, this symbiosis parallels the older one between plants and beneficial fungi, Ané says. Indeed, he says legumes have “hijacked” the mycorrhizae system. “Plants used the symbiosis toolkit to develop this relationship with mycorrhizae, and then used it again for bacteria. This dual requirement for chemical and mechanical signals is present in both associations, even though the association between rhizobia and legumes is only 60 million years old.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. The original article was written by David Tenenbaum.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dhileepkumar Jayaraman, Simon Gilroy, Jean-Michel An. Staying in touch: mechanical signals in plant–microbe interactionsCurrent Opinion in Plant Biology, 2014; 20: 104 DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2014.05.003

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Letter to the Congressional Organic Caucushttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/letter-congressional-organic-caucus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=letter-congressional-organic-caucus http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/09/letter-congressional-organic-caucus/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:46:49 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=13279 NOTE: PCC Natural Markets, in Seattle, coordinated a letter to members of Congress expressing the concerns from three dozen retailers about the arbitrary changes made by the USDA to NOSB governance and advice over organic food and agriculture.  These changes continue to trouble Cornucopia and many others in the organic community. PCC Natural Markets To the Congressional Organic Caucus, We the undersigned organizations are writing to ask you to advocate reversal of USDA’s unilateral changes

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NOTE: PCC Natural Markets, in Seattle, coordinated a letter to members of Congress expressing the concerns from three dozen retailers about the arbitrary changes made by the USDA to NOSB governance and advice over organic food and agriculture.  These changes continue to trouble Cornucopia and many others in the organic community.

PCC Natural Markets

500px-USDA_organic_seal_svg - wikicommonsTo the Congressional Organic Caucus,

We the undersigned organizations are writing to ask you to advocate reversal of USDA’s unilateral changes to the organic program’s Sunset Provision. We believe these changes violate the intent and the letter of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA).

A high bar to allow and renew synthetics

We have re-read OFPA and the letters from Sen. Leahy and Rep. DeFazio to Sec. Vilsack, as well as the letter from three former chairs of the National Organic Standards Board, and we respectfully disagree with the Deputy Administrator’s statement that the changes “shouldn’t make it harder” to remove items from the National List.

NOP staff has admitted in various settings that materials up for Sunset from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances were subject to being removed by a minority vote, and that materials some interests wanted to renew [leave on the list] weren’t getting enough votes, so USDA changed the voting process. In other words, NOP staff has admitted publicly it changed the rules to make it easier to keep synthetics on the National List.

OFPA established the two-thirds supermajority requirement for “Decisive Votes” [Sec. 2119 (i)] intentionally to establish a very high hurdle for prohibited synthetics to be allowed, even temporarily, in organics. Within the context of the overarching principle in Sec. 2105 [7 USC 6504], that foods labeled organic must be “produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals …,” Congress certainly intended the Sunset Provision to emphasize the temporary nature of exemptions.

USDA’s policy change makes relisting and renewal of synthetics much easier. Now, only six votes are needed for a synthetic to be allowed continued use, not the 10-vote supermajority mandated by OFPA. This assumes the full board even gets to vote on the relisting, since the murky nature of how these materials would be handled in subcommittees seems to preclude a full board vote if the subcommittee approves continued use.

Now, even if nine NOSB members oppose relisting, a six-vote minority favoring continued use would determine the “Decisive Vote” to enable continued use. This is contrary to Congressional intent for consensus in requiring a supermajority for Decisive Votes, through any plain reading of the law.

OFPA’s framers meant clearly to establish a very high hurdle to add an exemption and to renew any exemptions — not a high hurdle to allow, and a low hurdle to renew.

Policy change without public comment

USDA’s unilateral changes have been labeled a “power grab” with cause, since they were announced without the benefit of full notice and opportunity for public comment.

When asked where the changes originated, NOP staff has stated that “USDA did recently adjust how it works with the National Organic Standards Board to be more consistent with how other federal advisory boards are managed [under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)].”

The unique powers and authority granted to NOSB by OFPA have rubbed some USDA officials the wrong way from inception. But attempting to redefine the NOSB “to be more consistent with how other federal advisory boards are managed” contravenes what Congress enacted into law. (Note that FACA Sec. 9 says: (b) Unless otherwise specifically provided by statute or Presidential directive, advisory committees shall be utilized solely for advisory functions.)

Congress knowingly and intentionally granted exceptional and unique powers and authority to the National Organic Standards Board — unlike most other federal advisory committees. In passing OFPA in 1990, Congress knowingly and intentionally superseded the provisions established by FACA in 1972. In other words, OFPA overrides FACA.

Subcommittee eliminated

We are very concerned by the NOP’s elimination of the Board’s Policy Development Subcommittee and control of the NOSB work plan and agenda. This unilateral, top-down action suggests that NOSB under the new rules would no longer be allowed to create a subcommittee to work on topics of its choosing, such as the GMO subcommittee or a subcommittee to study nanotechnology.

OFPA established the NOSB to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the organic program. NOSB cannot advise the Secretary well if its authority to develop a work plan and agenda, or create committees and procedures, is diminished or denied.

Mandates ignored

There are two other OFPA provisions that appear to be contravened by USDA’s management of the organic program.

Sec. 2119 (j) “Other Terms and Conditions” states “The Secretary shall authorize the Board [NOSB] to hire a staff director … “To date, staff directors have been hired not by the Board as the law stipulates, but rather by the USDA. This must be rectified.

Also, Sec. 2119 (j) (3) “Technical Advisory Panels” says, “The Board [NOSB] shall convene technical advisory panels to provide scientific evaluation of the materials considered for inclusion in the National List … ” To date, TAPs have been convened by USDA unilaterally, not the Board, as stipulated by the law. Selection of TAP reviewers by USDA has become so shrouded in secrecy that NOSB members do not even know who the TAP reviewers are. This must be rectified.

We realize the pressure USDA, and you in particular, must be facing from industry. Manufacturers and processors barely mustered the votes to allow carrageenan (even with flawed TAP reviews). They nearly lost DHA, and larger orchards did lose antibiotics for growing apples and pears.

Yet changing the rules and admitting they were intended to reverse the course of Sunset — to enable renewal of synthetics with just six of 15 votes — and to refashion NOSB under FACA, violates the intent of Congress and the letter of the law in OFPA. The drafters of OFPA required a two-thirds supermajority for Decisive Votes, requiring a higher level of consensus across the full range of organic stakeholders, to ensure both credibility of the organic label and public support for organic products.

As significant stakeholders in the National Organic Program, we ask you to reverse these policies. We ask you, respectfully, to utilize the full notice and comment rulemaking procedures when there are changes NOP considers important.

Sincerely,

PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, Washington
Central Co-op, Seattle, Washington
Marlene’s Markets, Tacoma and Federal Way, Washington
The Markets, Bellingham, Washington
Skagit Valley Food Co-op, Mt. Vernon, Washington
Tonasket Food Coop, Tonasket, Washington
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Sacramento, California
Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Coop, San Diego, California
Ashland Food Co-op, Ashland, Oregon
Outpost Natural Food Cooperative, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dill Pickle Food Co-op, Chicago, Illinois
Wheatsville Food Co-op, Austin, Texas
La Montanita Food Co-op, Albuquerque, New Mexico
People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Whole Foods Co-op, Duluth, Minnesota
Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op, St. Paul, Minnesota
The Merc Community Market & Deli, Lawrence, Kansas
New Leaf Market Co-op, Tallahassee, Florida
Los Alamos Cooperative Market, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Hanover Consumer Co-op, Hanover, New Hampshire
Wild Oats Market, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Eastside Food Cooperative, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Belfast Cooperative, Belfast, Maine
Bluff Country Co-op, Winona, Minnesota
First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, Corvallis, Oregon
Lexington Cooperative Market, Buffalo, New York
Rising Tide Community Market, Damariscotta, Maine
Chico Natural Foods Cooperative, Chico, California
Weaver’s Way Co-op, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Blue Hill Co-op, Blue Hill, Maine
Seward Community Cooperative, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Grain Train Natural Foods Market, Petoskey, Michigan
One Degree Organic Foods, B.C., Canada
Nature’s Path Foods, Blaine, Washington and B.C., Canada
Organic Consumers Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing, Brussels, Wisconsin

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