January 25, 2010 “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of fourteen Recovery Act Broadband Infrastructure projects that will receive $309,923,352 through funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An additional $3,551,887 in private investment brings the total to $313,475,239. Altogether, Congress awarded USDA $2.5 billion in Recovery Act funding to […]
January 18, 2010 In 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a letter to the newly elected president, John F. Kennedy, asking for changes in the USDA: “The department could be of tremendous assistance to Negro farmers who are now denied credit simply because of their desire to exercise their citizenship rights. To wipe out […]
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.