the irresistible fleet of bicycles

Leave a comment

keep the soil organic: the truth about hydroponics

Keep The Soil In Organic began as a petition started by Dave Chapman, the owner/grower at Long Wind Farm, and David Miskell of Miskell’s Premier Organics.

Why are we doing this?

We are doing this because of our deep concern about a failure to maintain the integrity of the national organic standards. The way that the national standards work is that a group of federal bureaucrats from the USDA (called the National Organic Program, or NOP) are responsible for defining and administering organic standards for the United States. They are guided by an advisory committee of 15 people (called the National Organic Standards Board, or NOSB) representing organic farmers and consumers, who make informed recommendations to the USDA. The USDA has sometimes taken a long time to respond to a recommendation, but never before have they actually reversed a recommendation of the NOSB, which is charged with the mission of representing the organic community. The NOSB is a balanced group of committed, well informed people, who have taken their responsibility of guiding the federal organic standards very seriously. They do a great deal of good research and hold public hearings to hear all points of view, before making a recommendation. They only make recommendations on subjects requested by the NOP.

The recommendation

In 2010 the NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) submitted a recommendation to the NOP (National Organic Program) that soil-less vegetable production NOT be certified as organic. (See below). Until that time the issue of soil-less growing had never been addressed by the NOP, so the NOP asked the NOSB to come up with a recommendation. The NOSB voted 12 to 1 (with 2 abstentions) to prohibit soilless production. They wrote out a carefully worded, well thought out document, making their arguments clear. The recommendations of the NOSB are almost always eventually accepted by the NOP, but in this case the NOP has not acted on the NOSB recommendation, and three years later, the NOP continues to ALLOW hydroponic vegetable production to be certified as organic. The NOP has not offered any guidance to certifying agencies on this matter, nor any explanation. They have not held public hearings.  Many certifying agencies in the US are now refusing to certify hydroponic operations as organic.

Now Continue reading

Leave a comment

for the mommies, grandmommies, someday mommies, and everyone who cares about mommies and babies

Lest we forget why we care so much about this whole sustainable ag movement… Tyronne Hayes and Penelope Jagessar Chagger on “The Toxic Baby,” or how the chemicals in our world– especially in our food– affect our unborn children.


1 Comment

good primer on reclaiming our soils and regenerative farming


Excerpted from Ronnie Collins’s essay Regeneration: Global Transformation in Catastrophic Times:

We must begin to connect the dots between fossil fuels, global warming and related issues, including world hunger, poverty, unemployment, toxic food and farming, extractivism, land grabbing, biodiversity, ocean destruction, deforestation, resource wars, and deteriorating public health. As we regenerate the soil and forests, and make organic and grass-fed food and fiber the norm, rather than just the alternative, we will simultaneously develop our collective capacity to address all of the globe’s interrelated problems.

The extraordinary thing about de-industrializing food and farming, restoring grasslands and reversing deforestation—moving several hundred billion tons of carbon back from the atmosphere into our soils, plants and forests—is that this regeneration process will not only reverse global warming and re-stabilize the climate, but will also stimulate hundreds of millions of rural (and urban) jobs, while qualitatively increasing soil fertility, water retention, farm yields and food quality.

Read the full essay here!

1 Comment

great listen: farming without labels

To listen to the radio piece, click HERE!

Who is a good farmer? This question of goodness has been important to the popularization of the sustainable food movement. However, consumer evaluations of so-called goodness has become increasingly reliant on labels––“Organic,” “Locally-grown,” “Certified Humane,” “GMO-Free,” the list goes on. But when these labels can be co-opted by large-scale producers, do they retain any meaning? Is the certified organic beef from the supermarket a better choice than the not-certified beef sold by a local farmer at the farmers’ markets? Intuition seems to tell us no but Shizue RocheAdachi (SHE-zoo-eh r-OH-ch a-da-chee), a student at Yale University, decided to put a story to the question and headed out to Morris, Connecticut to talk to a farmer who’s forgoing the labels.

Click here to find out more about Truelove Farms

Leave a comment

sisters’ camelot free fresh organic produce

Since 1997, we have distributed millions of dollars worth of free fresh organic produce and whole foods through our Food Share program. Maybe you’ve seen us around Minneapolis and St. Paul, out in our brightly painted former Metro Transit bus, distributing the kinds of foods you could buy at the Seward Co-op or the Wedge. We make weekly rounds to distributors – Co-op Partners, Albert’s Organics, and other organic food distribution centers.  On any given day, we may pick up and then distribute fresh ripe organic produce, prepackaged whole foods, bulk goods, and other items that may be overstock or approaching their expiration dates. The food share coordinator and volunteers make random stops where we share food unannounced at a busy intersection or neighborhood park in low-income neighborhoods around the Twin Cities metro area. We meet people, discuss good nutrition, and share food. After sharing, cardboard boxes are recycled and overripe produce is composted at local community gardens, with minimal waste going into the waste stream.

Food Share happens twice a week in the winter and three times a week during the growing season, when we add a Farmers’ Market pick-up to our schedule.  Every week we distribute thousands of pounds of fresh, organic produce.

Foodshare can be reached at Volunteers are always welcome, and we’d love to have your help. Click here to get involved


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 693 other followers