Part 1: What comes to mind when you see food labeled “organic” at the grocery store or farmers market? I asked one audience that question years ago, and a gentleman replied emphatically, “Nuts!”
Search Results for: “Organic Agriculture: Its Origins, and Evolution Over Time.”
Part 7: The NOP itself was responsible the next time the organic community got sand kicked in its face, though once again a grassroots campaign snatched, if not victory, at least the status quo from the jaws of defeat. In the absence of any interest in the organic regulations from the political appointees, the NOP bureaucrats decided to start making and implementing policy pronouncements themselves.
Part 3: Despite a perpetual cold shoulder from the land grant agricultural establishment and the commercial food industry, organic agriculture grew steadily if silently during the 1980s. Each regional farmer group developed its own set of standards that specified the conditions with which a farmer must comply for their farm and the food it produced to be certified, labeled and sold as organic.
Part 8: We must travel back to the 1980s to appreciate why and how the anti-synthetic and anti-agribusiness provisions were written into the USDA organic certification standards.
Part 2: However insightful it was, the organic vision that Howard and his peers, notably Lady Eve Balfour in England and J.I. Rodale in America, had outlined by 1950 was incompatible with the changes then transforming commercial agriculture. The components of this transformation were not all that new – chemically derived fertilizers and pesticides were introduced in the nineteenth century and hybrid seeds and mechanized tractors became commercially available during the 1920s.
Part 6: The USDA rolled out its first proposal for national organic standards in late 1997 and within weeks the verdict was decisive: universal repudiation, to put it mildly.
Part 5: Today’s discussion will pick up in the light of the morning after and the reservations – felt to this day – whether hooking up with Uncle Sam turned out to be as advantageous as hoped. A healthy match between the two has always been a tricky proposition, given the USDA’s top-down approach to decision making and the organic community’s commitment to consensus process.
The screenwriter Rod Serling was a master at portraying the acutely self-conscious angst that drove Americans of the Cold War era to embrace orthodoxy and conformity at the expense of individuality and liberty.
Part 1: Monsanto sells a glyphosate-based herbicide called “Roundup.” Monsanto also sells seeds for crops – such as soy, corn, sugar beet, cotton, and others – that are genetically engineered to resist Roundup. Monsanto calls these seeds “Roundup Ready.” Patent law was critical to Monsanto’s business strategy, on both the herbicide and crop seed sides […]
In this final post, I shift ground a bit to talk about a case the Supreme Court will consider in its new term starting this fall. The case is known Bilski v. Doll. The Bilski case raises the basic question, when is a process too abstract to be patentable? The answer to the question will obviously be most pertinent to patents on things like computer software and methods of conducting business (such as finance or marketing strategies). But, depending on how the Court explains its decision, the case could have broader implications for whether people can patent other processes, such as a process for diagnosing an illness or for treating an illness.
Finally, I suggested two big questions that these new statutes left unanswered: (1) does a living organism other than a plant fall within the patentable subject matter categories for regular utility patents?; and (2) do plants, and seeds, fall within the patentable subject matter categories for regular utility patents? These questions, especially the second, are pressing because utility patent protection is stronger than either of the special protections designed just for plants.
Part 9: This installment in our history of organic agriculture will explore the challenges and contradictions of setting livestock standards using the scandalous abuse of the requirements for pasture to illustrate the very real limitations of organic certification.
Part 10: Beyond the intricacies of the production standards themselves, the story of organic poultry certification also includes one of the more fascinating sagas in the relationship between the organic community, the agribusiness establishment and the federal government.
Part 4: Organic agriculture was becoming pretty big business, considering that the people making it happen had started out with little more than determination. The organic community – meaning the extended family of farmers, certifying agents, natural food merchandisers, environmentalists and consumers – recognized that some harmony and reciprocity between the dozens of regional certification standards was needed to avoid a Tower of Babel.
As manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, South Dakota, Dan Forgey strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. Forgey has been using no-till management for more than 17 years and over that time, has developed a keen understanding of how his farming system works and where new challenges and opportunities exist.
Mark Keating worked for the USDA National Organic Program between 1999 and 2002 and helped draft the first national organic standards for crop and livestock production. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mark possessed a first-hand knowledge of how the USDA organic program was developed and the many challenges that it faced over the ensuing […]
Part 11: I couldn’t resist this title for the concluding chapter in our history of organic agriculture. This lyric from the rambunctious odyssey of the Grateful Dead also conveys the myriad twists and turns that have carried organic agriculture from the countercultural fringe to the White House garden and shelves of Walmart.
Paul Hawken eloquently explains how the price of food is divorced from its true costs, and what this really means for society.
Fred Kirschenmann, a leader in the sustainable food movement, completes his reflections upon the future of agriculture.
Fred Kirschenmann points out that much of modern industrial agriculture was possible because of mild and stable climate conditions, and cheap oil. Those advantages are over.