How has a technology as novel as genetic engineering so swiftly become a central component of global food and fiber production?
Four years into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, some Americans are losing confidence that the conventional wisdom at our disposal, whether liberal or conservative, is capable of restoring the financial security and opportunity we once enjoyed.
The Farm Bill is of critical importance but most Americans pay it little attention. That could spell disaster.
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 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 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.
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.
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.