Karen Adler's picture

From the Ground Up: What Does It Mean to be Certified Organic?

This is the first of a three part series. 

The Spirit of Organic

At the heart of organic certification is what many farmers, researchers, and advocates call the “spirit of organic.”  This spirit is described by the USDA National Organic Program, which defines organic agriculture as a production  system that is managed to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
So, what does it mean to be certified organic? At its essence, it means that when farmers and ranchers grow food and fiber products in accordance with the organic rules and principles, they become stewards of our soil, our water, and the very lives of the myriad plant and animal species on our planet. 

Udi Lazimy's picture

Celebrating Good Food and Supporting Organic Farmers

As people all over the U.S. gather to celebrate good food, we here at OFRF are excited about a great opportunity to get YOU engaged in calling for reforms at the federal level in support of organic farmers.
Its OFRF’s 2012 Farm Bill NOW petition! SIGN IT NOW and show your support for organic farmers, economic development, conservation, and all the other wonderful benefits of organic.  

Faith Grant's picture

More Organic Data = More $ Funding = Healthier Economy!

This week, I discussed the needs / challenges of organic farmers with one of the administrators of the Farm Service Agency (FSA).  A paramount need of organic farmers, both big and small, beginning and established, is access to loans to sustain and expand their operations.  FSA is the primary government agency tasked with making these loans available to farmers.  The challenge is getting an accurate financial picture of an organic farm as the basis to calculate loans.  This requires good price data, and that’s harder to compile for organic farms because their operations are typically more diverse.  

Udi Lazimy's picture

Farm Bill A Campaign Vice

According to the Capital Press, “As the presidential campaign enters its final month, nowhere have the two major candidates’ differences in their approach to government been more apparent than in agriculture policy.”  Whether or not you agree with that statement, it is true that agriculture policy is being used on the campaign trail to highlight our currently troubled state of affairs. Indeed, with Congress failing to pass a 2012 Farm Bill before the expiration of the 2008 five-year bill on Sept.30, a whole lot of farmers are calling for change, and candidates are listening.

Faith Grant's picture

The Risky Business of Growing Healthy Food

This year’s Organic Production Survey is out.  While it is less comprehensive, it does shed light on an important issue that’s overlooked in this Farm Bill cycle:  the need for improved crop insurance options for organic farmers.  Under the current system, organic farmers pay a 5% premium surcharge for crop insurance, but they are reimbursed at 'conventional' rates.  This  means that they pay more to get less.  This provides little incentive for an organic farmer to insure their crops against common risks like drought, insect damage, and weeds. 

Maureen Wilmot in Ohio articulating a very bright future for organic production

Maureen Wilmot will join Ohio State University’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) autumn symposium, “Future Directions for Organic Agriculture Research.”  The Nov. 1st  symposium is a summit for stakeholders, including farmers, researchers and policymakers, to discuss the future of organic farming and how we can anticipate research and education needs to help producers and processors be successful.  Click here for more information about the event.

emerginC and OFRF partner for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

OFRF is proud to be a part of emerginC 2012 Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign.
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, emerginC will donate to OFRF 20% of proceeds from the sale of the product below from the Scientific Organics line.  Click here for more info.

Faith Grant's picture

Major Bummer!

The 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired.  Dozens of innovative programs for organic farmers that put healthy, organic food on our tables are in political limbo until Congress returns in November.  That’s a long way off for those of us who fought so hard to build the infrastructure of organic.  We can’t let the organic gains made get lost in the political shuffle after the election.  While some in Washington are saying the impact will be negligible in the near term, organic farmers and members of Congress from agricultural states and districts know better.

Udi Lazimy's picture

Hard to believe that we aren't hurting bad enough...

The 2008 Farm Bill expired yesterday, Sept. 30. As of today, the U.S. is operating without direction for a modern agricultural system driven by unprecedented consumer demand. With an election coming up, Congress has chosen a sketchy path of neither passing a 2012 Farm Bill, nor extending the 2008 Farm Bill. Thus far, Congress has failed to do their job... worse, they have failed American farmers and we'll be paying for it.

Call to Congress: Stop Stalling on Farm Bill

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Organic Phone Flash Mob Sept. 19th! 

If you haven't called yet, please call today.  Congress is waiting until after the election to do anything about the Farm Bill.  We need to urge them to get the job done before the end of the year and to sustain organic programs that are most critical to our health and prosperity.


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