“access to pasture” definition comments accepted through
Exactly what it means to have organic dairy cattle “on pasture”
looms as a significant decision in determining what organic dairy
farming will look like. The USDA’s National Organic Program
has announced it will revise the current ambiguous pasture requirement,
and will accept comments on this topic through Monday, June 12.
Background and sample letters from an organic dairy farmer-based
Final NOP rules from Harvey decision
Final rules revising the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations
to comply with the final court order in the Harvey v. Johanns lawsuit
and implement the 2005 amendments to the Organic Foods Production
Act of 1990 (the Act or OFPA) were published this week in the Federal
Register. These provisions include the allowable National List synthetics
used in processing organic foods, the elimination of the "80-20"
dairy feeding provision and the acceptance of dairy herd consumption
of crops from fields in the third year of conversion were to be
published this week.
The USDA is still working on the current two-track
system of converting dairy replacement animals.
Register Rules and Regulations
South Central Farmers resisting
Financial and public support has grown for a group of 350 poor
working-class families facing eviction from their 14-acre urban
farm in South Central Los Angeles. The farm—the largest urban
farm in the country and some say a model for urban sustainability—was
established in 1992 following the L.A. riots and a handshake deal
between then Mayor Tom Bradley and Doris Block of the L.A. Regional
In 1996, in what detractors characterized as a “backroom
deal,” the once-blighted land was offered to developers for
below market value without the approval of city council. The developers
sued the city in 2002 and purchased the land through a settlement
for just over $5 million. Now they want $16 million to give it back.
South Central Farmers has already raised $6 million, and movie and
musical stars, including Daryl Hannah and Joan Baez, and a Who’s
Who of activists, including Julia Bullerfly Hill, have leant their
support—and sometimes their bodies—to the cause. They
are still $10 million short, with mounting pressure on the city’s
current mayor to pay the asking price or challenge the original
Sustainable ag students learn about
Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Sustainable Agriculture
students in Pittstboro, North Carolina, received some real-world
experience in organic farm production and farm business management
over spring semester.
Students grew and marketed their own plot of vegetables at the
Pittsboro campus land lab and raised more than $500 during the spring
semester by teaming with Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO), a locally-based
marketing and distribution service for North Carolina. organic farmers.
The funds they raised will be given to future program graduates
as seed money.
Sister market raises $6,000
for Crescent City Farmers Market
The Crescent City Farmers Market, bread and butter for farmers
serving the population and surrounding area of New Orleans, reopened
March 4, 2006, amidst many challenges following the devastation
wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
On Saturday, May 20, the Carrboro Farmers Market in North Carolina
hosted a “Muffulettas and Gumbo to Go” fundraiser for
the Crescent City Farmers Market Katrina Crop Circle and—with
the help of area restaurants, other businesses and volunteers—raised
$6,000 for the sister market.
“We sold out five minutes before the market ended,”
said market manager Sheila Neal. “Thank goodness for the sunshine
that took over the day…and many thanks to the band, T'monde,
who got customers in the mood to buy gumbo.”
Some ways the money might be used are: to help farmers purchase
new equipment and repair existing equipment, to help bolster local
community gardening efforts, and as “scholarships” to
help customers purchase CSA shares.
Organic ag rocks the university:
Officially OK at Washington, taking off at Colorado, Michigan
State officials gave final approval in late May to Washington State
University’s Organic Agriculture Systems major as one of five
new Bachelor of Science degree majors in agriculture. For details
on the WSU organic major read our story Organic
Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Michigan State University
in East Lansing have also joined the growing list of land-grant
universities offering new organic programs.
CSU’s Organic Agriculture Interdisciplinary Program opens
this fall. It builds on fundamental agricultural sciences with additional
courses focused on organic agricultural production techniques and
decision making. Seven other new courses on crops, soils, composting,
greenhouse production and organic issues will be added in the years
Completing the program will take as little as 13 specialized hours
for some ag majors, but up to 40 designated hours for those with
a liberal arts major. Featured options include the on-campus, quarter-acre
student organic farm and market, as well as the 8 certified organic
acres at the university’s Rocky Mountain Small Farm Organic
Project research site.
Soils professor and compost specialist Jessica Davis – who
spearheaded the drive to get the organic program approved –
reports Aurora Organic Dairy of Boulder is providing $1,000 scholarships
for the first six students to sign up for the new CSU program. She
and other faculty will be involving many farmers and business persons
from the organic community to provide students will real-world training.
She credits strong student interest and organic farmer involvement
in research with CSU as prime motivations for the effort.
MSU will open its Organic Farming Certificate Program January
1, 2007. This is a one-year practical farm training program for
10-15 students who will manage a 10-acre student organic farm and
take course work on organic faming. The farm produces food for a
four-season, 48-week Community Supported Agriculture direct-marketing
program for more than 50 families. Crops include fresh and stored
vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit.
The students will experience traditional field-scale production
as well as production in unheated greenhouses and cold storage facilities.
This is the only educational organic farm that operates a year-round
CSA in a cold climate.
To complete their certificate program, students will take a three-
to four-month, off-site internship or apprenticeship on a working
farm or urban garden.
WSU Details: http://afs.wsu.edu
CSU Details: http://organic.colostate.edu
MSU Details: www.msuorganicfarm.com/dnav/218/page.htm