In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act, we asked some of the early champions of the modern-day organic movement to reflect on what the label means to them.

Read the essays from Dr. Joan Dye Gussow, Dr. Barry Flamm, and Elizabeth Henderson below.

  • Dr. Joan Dye Gussow has been a powerful influence in food and farm policy. As a vocal critic of the industrialized U.S. food system, she is known by many as the matriarch of the organic, locavore, and small-farm movement. She is currently the Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and the former chair of their Nutrition Education Department. At Columbia, she created the legendary course, Nutritional Ecology. Along with her late-husband – artist, author, and environmental activist Alan Gussow – she has been a life-long avid organic gardener, which is chronicled in her numerous books including The Feeding WebThis Organic Life and her most recent, Growing Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Growing Vegetables. READ DR. GUSSOW’S ESSAY.
  • Barry Flamm, PhD, was instrumental in developing the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) procedures and monitoring the US Forest Service’s agency actions as the first Environmental Coordinator. Dr. Flamm taught environmental policy at the University of Montana along with lecturing on and authoring conservation topics. He is a natural resource, environmental, and organic farming consultant specializing in biodiversity conservation on the global scene. Alongside a lifelong history of environmental advocacy, Flamm also served on the NOSB as board chair and operated the first certified organic sweet cherry orchard in the state of Montana. READ DR. FLAMM’S ESSAY.
  • Author and activist, Elizabeth Henderson produced organically grown vegetables at Peacework Farm in New York for more than 30 years. A founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in Massachusetts, she has been deeply involved in the organic movement since the 1970s. She serves on several boards and has been awarded many accolades at the state, regional, and national levels for her commitment to organic agriculture and food justice. READ ELIZABETH HENDERSON’S ESSAY


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