The National Organic Program has been rocked by controversies in recent years. Two front-page stories in the Washington Post this Spring described massive fraud in the organic certification of milk and grains. Farmer Rallies in Vermont have challenged the NOP to reform broken standards that permit soilless hydroponics to be certified as organic on an enormous scale. Letters and petitions from around the country have called for action to prevent hydroponics from becoming the"new organic". The USDA has recently refused to enact animal welfare reform standards that would decertify three-quarters of the "USDA certified organic" eggs. These "organic" eggs come from CAFOs (Contained Animal Feeding Operations) that have nothing to do with organic principles.
Real organic is struggling to maintain the integrity of the label as the NOP is being twisted by Big Ag. We have made little progress after years of struggling to reform the USDA standards to reflect the Organic Food Production Act, the 2010 NOSB Recommendation on hydroponics, and world standards. As organic sales are booming, we are in danger of losing the meaning of the word.
Come see a five minute film of Vermont's Rally In The Valley which gathered 250 farmers and eaters who marched ahead of a 26 tractor cavalcade to hear Senator Patrick Leahy, farmer/author Eliot Coleman, US Representatives Peter Welch and Chellie Pingree, current Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, and some pioneering organic farmers speak about how to save organic. This will be followed by a discussion of what is happening, what can we do now, and most importantly, WHY healthy soil has always been the critical foundation of organic farming.