About Caroline Baptist

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So far Caroline Baptist has created 3 blog entries.

Creating a Southern Soil Health Course

By Shelby Kaplan, OFRF Research and Education Intern
She recently graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in plant pathology and a minor in food systems. She will continue her studies in the fall at ASU to receive a graduate certificate in food policy and sustainable leadership.

As an OFRF intern this summer, I have been working with Thelma Velez, the Research and Education Program Manager, to create a free soil health course titled, Organic Soil Health for the Southern Region. This course builds on a recent OFRF publication, Building Healthy Living Soils for Successful Organic Farming in the Southern Region, and describes challenges in Southern soil health and ways to mitigate these problems in a sustainable way. 

Shelby Kaplan in a LabPersonally, the course is thought-provoking and provides a way for me to learn more about organic farming practices. I have an interest in sustainable agriculture and am eager to learn more about the organic farming space, while also hoping to help farmers improve their practices with science-based information. Although the Midwest environment where I went to college differs quite a lot from Southern ecosystems, I have travelled abroad several times in order to broaden my knowledge of organic agriculture in other regions. 

The goal of the course is to assist organic farmers in the South and show practical strategies to help improve their crops by improving the soil, which will build resilient farms. Healthy soil is the basis for successful farming, so finding ways to better manage it and improve on the practices already in place is critical. As the climate continues to change and put increased pressure on farmers, there needs to be an even greater focus on ways to improve the capabilities of soil and the ways we use it.

Supporting organic farmers by providing up-to-date information is an important step in improving organic systems and our environment. Helping to create this course has taught me more about organic systems in the Southern environment, their challenges, as well as possible solutions. 

I hope to continue supporting the organic farming community through working with OFRF in other ways in the future!

By |2021-07-27T15:57:35+00:00July 27th, 2021|News|

Recent Report Recommends Organic Policy Improvements

The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University recently published The Critical To-Do List for Organic Agriculture, which features 46 recommendations that would improve the state of organic agriculture in the United States. OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer, and consultants Mark Schonbeck and Ferd Hoefner, were acknowledged for their advice and support in helping formulate the 46 recommendations.

While policy-based improvements can be time consuming, the majority of recommendations in the report could be accomplished administratively by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning the USDA can make the changes without any additional input from Congress.

Among the 46 recommendations are a number of priorities that the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has prioritized and advocated for, including recommendations to:

(1) develop a national organic plan;
(2) implement a USDA-wide organic agenda;
(3) take a whole of government approach to organic agriculture;
(4) restore the organic advisor to the Secretary;
(7) address racial justice and social equity;
(12) increase organic research;
(23) reinvest in the Organic Transitions program;
(25) restore cost-share funding;
(33) elevate organic in climate policy;
(35) promote ecosystem services;
(37) increase conservation support;
(39) fund research on breeds and seeds adapted to climate change;
(40) identify organic as climate smart;
(43) improve crop insurance tools;
(44) incent recoupling crops and livestock; and
(46) restore the field buffer initiative.

For some recommendations–such as implementing a USDA-wide organic agenda–OFRF has already developed and shared more specific, agency-by-agency recommendations with the USDA. In addition, in an April 2021 letter to Secretary Vilsack, OFRF specifically asked the Secretary to implement several of the recommendations, such as restoring the organic advisor to the Secretary, increasing organic research at USDA to match organic’s six percent market share, restoring cost-share funding, and increasing conservation support.

We look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and his staff to implement these changes in the coming years!

By |2021-07-16T20:28:18+00:00July 16th, 2021|News|

Caroline Baptist

Photo of Caroline Baptist

Communications Manager


Caroline Baptist has over 15 years of nonprofit, corporate and agency experience as a communications professional. She graduated from Washington State University with a BA in English and Digital Technology and Culture.
Caroline is a first-generation female farmer of color and owner of the River Valley Country Club, a 5-acre farm in the greater Seattle area. Caroline raises row crop vegetables and pasture-raised livestock and poultry. She is interested in topics of organic farming, regenerative agriculture, local food security, community health and mutual aid.
By |2021-07-19T18:34:54+00:00July 15th, 2021|Staff|