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Regeneration International: Taking the Organic Standard One Step Higher

Author: Simi Summer, Ph.D. | Published: April 2, 2018

In response to the decision of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to certify hydroponic crops and sanction “taking the soil out of organics” (Many individuals consider this to be the demise of the organic standard) scientists, consumers, farmers and those concerned about protecting the future of organics, are taking a visionary approach. They see the future of organics in regenerative agriculture.

In September 2017, the Rodale Institute presented a draft for organic standards called a new third party Regenerative Organic (RO) Certification. Once finalized, the RO certification will reflect a standard far beyond USDA organic. This will be achieved by establishing higher standards for soil health, land management, animal welfare and fair labor/fair trade practices for farmers and workers. The RO label will appear on certified regenerative products, next to the USDA Organic label, signifying a standard which exceeds those set currently by the NOSB and the USDA.

A growing number of consumers have come to understand that non-organic, genetically engineered, industrially produced and chemically-laden food products and production methods are health hazardous. Unfortunately, degenerative agriculture produces effects which are the opposite of carbon sequestering practices. Such degenerative practices damage the environment, contaminate the air, pollute the world’s water supply and destabilize climate. And increasing levels of greenhouse gas pollution comes from degenerative food, farming and land use practices.

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Defining Organic; All About Animal Welfare, Regenerative Agriculture, and Rural Economics; Guest Heretic Will Harris of White Oak Pastures

Author: Adrienne Hew

When Will Harris’s dad started using ammonium nitrate fertilizer on his farm in 1946, he had no idea he was destroying the microscopic flora and fauna on the land that are necessary for maintaining healthy top soil. So after 50 years, he moved to a farming system that is not only organic, but regenerates the soil by emulating nature’s own processes while concentrating on animal welfare and restoring rural economics.

Harris’s White Oak Pastures farm pasture raises and hand butchers 5 red meat animal species and 5 poultry species. Using techniques learned from the Savory Network, Harris uses these animals to restore balance to the soil. As a result, his farm is able to withstand drought and heavy rains equally well with no loss in crop production.

In today’s episode of the Nutrition Heretic Podcast, we learn about the inaccuracies of labels such as organic and grass-fed as well as how Harris’s smart farming methods are helping to restore his 150 year old family farm into a thriving farm for the future.

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How to regenerate organic – privatize it

Author: Craig Sams

How can we free organic from its self-imposed bureaucratic box? We could always ask Brussels to privatize us, says Craig Sams

Q. What do Slow Food, LEAF, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Cosmos, Marine Stewardship Council, Red Tractor, Vegan, Vegetarian, Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and Woodmark all have in common?

A. They all operate trusted authentication symbols that are 100% independent. They can decide what they can certify and how they can certify.

Q. What do the Soil Association, Ecocert, EKO, KRAV, Nature et Progres, OCIA, QAI, OFF, OF&G and 400 or so other organic symbols have in common?

A. They operate trusted authentication symbols that are 100% Government-controlled. They cannot decide what they can certify and how they can certify.

This ‘nationalisation’ of organic certification didn’t happen by accident or by force, we actually asked for it. The independent symbols have grown organically to global respect and stature while the organic ‘brands’ have been stifled in their self-imposed bureaucratic box.

“This ‘nationalisation’ of organic certification didn’t happen by accident or by force, we actually asked for it”

Back in the late 1980s I got to know key players at the Soil Association (up till then we were OF&G licensees). When I heard they were seeking to get the EU to enforce organic standards I was dismayed. Francis Blake of IFOAM and the Soil Association told me that if I wanted to have any influence I should stand for the Soil Association board. I did and didn’t get elected. Boo Hoo. But the Council wanted me anyway and appointed me Treasurer In 1990. I argued from within against letting our precious organic standards go under the control of the agricultural departments which subsidised industrial farming and were 100% behind GMOs. Regrettably the train had already left the station and, short of tying myself to the tracks, there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The infant organic industry was stressed about fraudulent claims and thought calling in big brother would stop that. In fact the opposite happened. When the Soil Association sampled a licensee’s oat flakes a few years ago and found chlormequat residues at quite a high level they told the licensee to take them off the market. Defra and UKAS and the oat processor who supplied them all cried foul. The paperwork was in order, that was all that mattered to the enforcers. The Soil Association came close to being banned from certifying but luckily the horsemeat scandal broke out and the EU said lab sampling of products should be permitted.

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