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OFRF-Funded Book Helps Organic Farmers Avoid Contamination from Genetically Engineered Crops



Press Release

Contact:
Brise Tencer, Executive Director

(831) 426-6606

brise@ofrf.org

For Immediate Release: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

(Santa Cruz, CA) Today marks the publishing of the book, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity, the first of its kind to define best practices for farmers who want to avoid contamination of their seeds from genetically engineered (GE) crops. These are sometimes referred to as GMOs.

 
The book, funded in part by a $10,966 grant from OFRF, is published by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and was distributed to 450 farmers
at this week’s 7th Annual Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis, Oregon, one of the nation’s largest organic seed conferences. Beginning today, OSGATA is providing copies of the book to organic farmers without cost.
Karen Adler's picture

Sowing the Seeds of Organic Integrity

At the recent EcoFarm Conference in California, I attended a session called “Keeping GMOs out of Organic Food and Farms.” The panel included representatives from an organic food company, an environmental advocacy group, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and an organic dairy. At a time when the clamor for organic food is greater than ever, these activists, along with thousands of people involved in organic food and farming all over the world, are concerned about the growing threat of GMO (genetically modified organism) contamination.

One thing is clear: we are at a crucial tipping point regarding the future of organic juxtaposed against the genetic engineering of our food supply. And on the frontline are seeds—the very basis of life. As Vandana Shiva says, “Seed is created to renew, to multiply, to be shared, and to spread. Seed is life itself.”

Mark Keating's picture

Action Alert - Farm Bill: Organic Victories Tempered by More of the Same Industrial Ag

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Advisor

UPDATE 1/29/14 : Victory for Organic Farmers:  House passes new Farm Bill; Senate vote expected within days.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed upon on a new five year Farm Bill which significantly increases support for key organic initiatives including the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Data Initiative (ODI).  The bill, which must still pass the House and Senate, also contains $5 million to modernize the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) and increases funding for local, beginning and sustainable agriculture programs including $150 million over five years for the Farmers Market Promotion Program.  The bill also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to consider the establishment of a dedicated Organic Research and Promotion Program, should the community elect to pursue one.  These groundbreaking victories, however, must be weighed against the billions of dollars which this proposal commits to the failed industrial agriculture model.

Meg Moynihan's picture

Leadership

OFRF Board Member, Transition Committee Chair

Several months ago, we announced a leadership transition at OFRF and I have to say that it’s really pretty exhilarating to be at the launch. 

Since November, we've been working with a professional transition consultant, and our six person transition committee (which includes both a former AND an incoming board member) has invested an enormous amount of time engaging every one of OFRF’s 15 board members and conducting hour-long interviews with an array of more than 30 people and organizations that we think of as allies in some way, shape, or form.

You will see their ideas reflected in every part of the job announcement for our new executive director – from experience and credibility in the organic community, to authentic commitment to understanding and promoting the interests and needs of organic farmers, to skill and affinity for collaborations and partnerships, to effective and inspirational management and engagement of staff, to strategic thinking, solid fundraising, and financial management skills.

Karen Adler's picture

The ABCs of GMOs

By Karen Adler, OFRF Research Consultant

The writing is on the wall—and in newspapers, magazines, and all over the internet. Most Americans want GMO labeling—93 percent, according to this New York Times survey. Even Family Circle magazine weighed in citing their poll showing that 99 percent of their readers want labeling. It’s already heating up for 2014, with Maine becoming the second state to require GMO labels, and more than half of U.S. states with pending labeling legislation. And how about industrial food giant General Mills ringing in the New Year by announcing that they will soon take their iconic Cheerios GMO-free? (Never mind that Cheerios, being made mostly from oats, are almost GMO-free already, since there are no genetically modified oats.) What really makes this big news is that General Mills identified a consumer desire of a magnitude that is driving them to jumpstart this bandwagon on a grand scale.

Mark Keating's picture

Good News for Organics in the Latest Federal Spending Bill

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Consultant

            In a hopeful sign Monday that Washington is returning to the peoples’ business, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees released a compromise fiscal year 2014 budget which both chambers will vote on this week. The spending bill sets funding levels for specific government programs using the budget ceiling of $1.1 trillion agreed to by the House and Senate Budget Committees back in December.

Mark Keating's picture

We Must Prevent Approval of 2,4-D Resistant Soy and Corn

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Consultant

In a major development in the escalating controversy over genetically engineered (GE) crops, the USDA has released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for two varieties of soybeans and one of corn which are resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D.  In a disturbing move, the USDA is recommending the unrestricted release of all three varieties, thereby paving the way for their potential planting on millions of acres.  

Karen Adler's picture

Feeding the Future with Ancient Grains

By Karen Adler

You may have noticed grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, and spelt skyrocketing into high demand in recent years in the U.S. You may have even wondered who is meeting that demand. As it turns out, little is known about growing these and other delicious, nutritious, and potentially lucrative crops outside of their native regions, where they have been grown for thousands of years. With funding from OFRF, Kevin Murphy at Washington State University and his team of farmer and university collaborators set out to change that by identifying varieties of quinoa, buckwheat and spelt optimally adapted to organic farming systems in Washington State. From the onset, this project was requested and initiated by organic farmers and continues to rely on farmer participation.

Klaas Martens's picture

Some of the Most Vital Research Needs Time and Money to Bear Fruit

By Klaas Martens, OFRF Board Member

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
- Naturalist, John Muir

Imagine what more than a century of studying soil in one place might tell us?

The Morrow plots were established in 1876 and are the second oldest long-term systems trials (LTST) in the world.  Data from the Morrow plots has shown that: "soil quality is a vital component of agricultural productivity." The oldest continuously operating system trial is at Rothamsted Manor in England.  It started in 1843 just as synthetic fertilizer manufacturing was beginning to study its effect on soil and wheat production.

Mark Keating's picture

New Film “Seed: The Untold Story” Sounds an Alarm About Our Food Future

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Advisor

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”   

We don’t know precisely who originated this saying, but its wisdom speaks to us all.  The story of human civilization is inseparable from our heritage as seed breeders.  Most of our food, medicine, clothing and yes, the beautiful flowers which inspire us resulted from thousands of years of skillful selection and breeding practices drawing upon the abundant genetic diversity of plants.

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