Organic Week in Brief: Five Need-to-Knows
Mexican Local Markets Create Participatory Organic Certification System
Because selling to the domestic market in Mexico can’t make up for the cost of certification, 85 percent of organically grown products are exported. About 98 percent of organic growers in Mexico farm less than 32 hectares of land (79 acres). Most organic farmers are indigenous.
To make organic certification affordable for smaller local farmers, a network called Tianguis y Mercados Organicos has created a certification body made up of growers and experts in their community. The Mexican government officially recognized the participatory system of certification as eligible to carry the organic label domestically. This system is also endorsed by IFOAM – Organic International, a leading certification and advocacy organization internationally. Foodtank.com
NOP Provides Annual Training for USDA-Accredited Organic Certifiers
National Organic Program (NOP) staff presented training to USDA-accredited organic certifiers in Portland, Oregon, last month. The annual training provides critical information, updates, and reminders to certifiers. Over 200 certifier staff and other industry partners attended the event. If you missed it, you can view the slides and modules on the website.
April 19 New Deadline for Comments to USDA on Eleven Substances to be Excluded from Organic National List
If you’re growing or handling organic and use one of the eleven substances scheduled to be taken off the National List for exempted soon, your opportunity to comment to USDA has been extended to April 19. Don’t forget that every five years, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) holds a “Sunset Review” of the list. The list usually changes every five years so you need to check it twice.
If you use any of the following: lignin sulfonate, furosemide, magnesium carbonate, Chia, dillweed oil, frozen galangal, inulin, frozen lemongrass, chipotle chile peppers, turkish bay leaves, and whey protein concentrate, you may need to find alternatives. The National List is considered the last tool in the organic toolbox and provides organic growers and handlers the ability to use non-organic substances as a last resort when other options don’t exist.
Sprout Foods New Organic Baby Purees and Snacks for Toddlers
Healthy babies can now enjoy a line of Stage 3 plant-based organic protein purees and their toddler siblings can snack on “curlz” made from organic chickpeas and lentils. Sprout Foods, based in Montvale, NJ, founded in 2008, and introduced the first organic toddler puree called “Power Pack”. Positioned as a way to ensure that babies and toddlers get the vegetables they need, the new purees have three grams of protein and two grams of fiber. The Power Pack puree also contains a full serving of fruit and omega-3 from chia. The organic “curlz” contain no added or artificial flavors, preservatives, concentrates or sugars and come in broccoli, white cheddar, sweet potato and cinnamon flavors. sustainablefoodnews.com
Blue Apron Enhances Its Commitment to Organic
Matt Salzberg, co-founder and CEO of Blue Apron, added two new directors to the Blue Apron board: Gary Hirshberg, Chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, and Tracy Britt Cool, Chief Executive Officer of Pampered Chef.
"Gary and Tracy both have a thorough understanding of our opportunity to build a better food system, and their counsel and oversight will be invaluable as we continue to grow," said Salzberg, "Gary is a pioneer in environmental sustainability and organic agriculture and will provide critical strategic guidance as we continue to develop our farm sourcing and innovation programs and implement initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint.
"After 33 years of leading and growing Stonyfield Farm, I want to dedicate my time to other exciting and emerging companies that are closing the gap between consumers and the source of their food," Hirshberg said. prnewswire.com
Last week we introduced some of the basic components of the GRO Organic program and its potential impact on the organic produce community. This week, in Part II, we dig further into the proposal, assessment and funding.Read More
Melody is a weekly contributor to OPN Connect. You can follow her blog at www.organicmattersblog.com
A Political Sea of Change for the Good Food Movement
by Melody Meyer, vice president of policy and industry relations, United Natural Foods (UNFI)
It’s been just a few weeks since our political world took a turn into uncharted seas. We had been progressing along swimmingly, making progress on the likes of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, local organic food hubs and vibrant conservation programs. We had the luxury of squabbling over the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) wrangling over every nuance of organic production. We took the National Organic Program for granted as an institutional “holy mackerel” that would carry us someday into regulatory utopia.
All of that came to an abrupt halt last November when the new political tide rolled in. These uncharted waters are like nothing we have navigated before and the good food movement should take heed and consider rowing with a united stroke if we are to remain afloat.Read More
In Their Words: Jeff shares his organic insights and thoughts on the Amazon and New Seasons partnership
OPN Connect spoke with Jeff Fairchild, produce director for New Seasons Market just days after Amazon Inc. announced its Prime Now customers in Seattle can shop for organic and local fresh produce from New Seasons and receive free delivery within two hours. Jeff shared some of his thoughts on Amazon and all things organic produce.Read More
Registration for attendees, as well as hotel reservations, is now open. The 2017 Organic Produce Summit will take place July 12 and 13, in Monterey, CA, at the Monterey Conference Center.Read More
Organic Coup Co-founders Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover will be keynote speakers at the 2017 Organic Produce Summit (OPS), scheduled for July 12 and 13, in Monterey, CA. Attendees will get a firsthand opportunity to learn from the founders of The Organic Coup as they share their passion for organic food, and how their concept is revolutionizing fast food.Read More
Who wants better health?
By Ashley Koff, RD
We all do! And the great news is that today we know how to get it and keep it: better nutrition. But what is (and is not) better nutrition can be confusing. “Well, thank goodness for organic produce!” says me, Ashley Koff RD, a dietitian for nearly two decades teaching people how to make better not perfect choices more often so they get and keep better health. Organic produce is better nutrition simplified.Read More