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OPN Connect Newsletter 27 · August 31, 2017

Weekly Top 5: Organic News You Need to Know 


1. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc Launches Fundraiser for Organic Farmers Association

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NGVC) said Tuesday it is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), a new national group advocating for U.S. organic farmers and ranchers on Capitol Hill, with the goal to raise $100,000 for OFA during September.

Sambrailo

The OFA was launched in September 2016 by organic agriculture research group, Rodale Institute, which said with American consumers spending about $47 billion annually on organics, the nation's organic farmers need a place at the table to advocate for national policies that will enable them to meet growing demand.

Read more here

2. Organic Produce Retail Sales Hit Double Digits for First Time in Q2

Nature Safe

U.S. organic produce retail sales continue to surge, hitting $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2017, a 7.9 percent increase, according to the United Fresh Produce Association's (UFPA) FreshFacts On Retail Report.

While the produce department at retail posted its second consecutive quarter of lower sales, organics - led by organic packaged salad sales and the growth of organic berries - represented 10 percent of the produce department's sales, the first time it has reached double-digits.

Learn more here

Organic Ag Products

3. Valuing Farmers in the Whole Foods Acquisition

Amazon’s announcement of its intent to purchase Whole Foods, if it does in fact progress, needs to be seen in the larger context of consolidation across food retail and agriculture.

In 2016, four grocery chains accounted for 36.9 percent of food and beverages sold in the U.S. Walmart, number one, sold 17.3 percent. Whole Foods came in 9th, selling 1.7 percent and Amazon 21st, with 0.8 percent.

Ocean Mist

This consolidation includes the organic industry. Food and product brands that appear independent are often, in fact, owned by conglomerates. Annie’s Homegrown, Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen are owned by General Mills. Green Mountain coffee by Coca Cola, Seeds of Change by M&M Mars, and Bear Naked and Morningstar Farms by Kellogg, to name a few.

Read more here. 

4. Dutch Want Hydroponic to be Accredited as Organic

The giant expansion of the Spanish organic greenhouse vegetable acreage has resulted in some consternation in Holland. About 1,000 hectares of organic Spanish greenhouse vegetables seem to be cultivated in greenhouses that where built on a rock bottom in which the growers have deposited soil from elsewhere. 

In Holland, and in the whole of Europe, the rules for organic cultivation are pretty much clear; organics have to be grown in organic certified soil. There is a strict enforcement on the origin and state of the soil. An exception is made for growers in Scandinavia; they can certify their produce as organic when grown in organic soil in containers. But this exemption will be phased out over the next ten years, the EU announced recently. 

Read more here. 

5. National Organic Program Suspends a Dozen Operations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) is reporting suspensions of 13 organic certificates in August.

So far, in FY2017, a total of 224 operations have had their organic certificates suspended, with 56 of those in the third quarter, which ended June 30, and another 42 in July and August. Eleven operations have had their organic certificates revoked in FY2017, including seven in the third quarter.

Learn more here.

 

“We’re projecting growth for both organic and conventional and we are very dedicated to producing more organic in the future." 

- Garrett Nishimori, San Miguel Produce, Inc.

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