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This week ‘The Nation’ dug into the story of Industrial Ag breaking down the gates of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) and grabbing control.
Generally, it’s a good and accurate article. Francis and Emily, quoted in the article, are close and trusted allies performing Herculean work on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
However, one important point the reporter got wrong: Our group – Jim is one of fifteen members on the ‘Real Organic Program’ Standards Board which meets in Vermont later this month – is NOT abandoning the USDA Organic Label. Instead, after years in the making, we are constructing a ‘ADD-ON’ program to the NOP. Our ADD-ON program will identify honest Certified Organic family farmers whose authentic crop and livestock practices are in alignment with both organic eaters’ expectations and the spirit and the letter of the original Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) federal labeling law.
Our ADD-ON program will SUPPLEMENT the pre-requisite NOP Organic Certification. Our ADD-ON program will EXCLUDE the fake corporate factory farms which are flooding the market with bogus, illegitimate products illegally using the “organic” label.
With the help of the entire organic community, we will build a genuine alternative program and make it possible for you and your family to confidently access bona fide Certified Organic food now and into the future.
We will keep you updated. Jim & Megan…/828523286106215603/d7v2/

“‘Big business is taking over the USDA organic program,’ Thicke said, addressing his colleagues in a speech marking his retirement. ‘Because the influence of money is corroding all levels of our government’…

“‘At this point, I can see only one way to bring the organic label back in line with the original vision of organic farmers and consumers,’ Thicke said. ‘We need an add-on organic label for organic farmers who are willing to meet the expectations of discerning consumers who are demanding real organic food’…

“Emily Oakley, an Obama NOSB appointee, owns a 20-acre organic vegetable farm in Oklahoma. She said large agricultural interests are working tirelessly to sway policy.

“‘Many smaller-scale farmers are busy with the work of farming and don’t have the means to hire lobbyists to represent their interests,’ Oakley said. ‘Larger agricultural businesses do. That creates a dynamic in which the voices that are before the NOSB tend not to be smaller-scale farmers, despite the fact that they comprise a majority of certified organic farms. The organic movement has become an organic industry.'”