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organic farming

The New Mandatory GMO Labeling Law – What Does it Mean for Farmers and Consumers?

September 8, 2016 |

A Frito-Lay package with a voluntary GMO label. Photo Credit: Will C. Fry/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The campaign for mandatory GMO labeling laws has been going on for years. On July 29, President Obama signed a bill requiring labeling of foods that contain GMO.

As a result, over the next few years food producers will have to provide more information to consumers about the genetically engineered contents of their products. The Mandatory Labeling Bill places the onus on the USDA to develop not only the criteria for labeling, but also what the labels will look like.

Opponents of mandatory labeling argue that labeling genetically engineered foods will imply that those products are unsafe, which they say would be misleading since the FDA and other organizations have determined that genetically engineered foods are safe for human consumption. Those in favor of mandatory labeling, on the other hand, say that consumers have a right to know and to choose whether or not the food that they consume contains genetically modified ingredients. Read More

Southern California School District Takes Students Out of Classroom and Into ‘Farm Lab’

June 22, 2016 |
Organically grown lettuce heads being raised at Farm Lab for school lunch in the Encinitas Union School District

Organically grown lettuce heads being raised at Farm Lab for school lunch in the Encinitas Union School District. Photo courtesy of Farm Lab Director Mim Michelove

A public school district in Southern California is enhancing its curriculum with an interactive learning center known as “Farm Lab.”

The Encinitas Union School District is rolling out the mixed-use educational space on a donated 10-acre plot of land in the prominent horticultural hub of Encinitas, California. Central to the plan is a roughly five acre educational garden that will produce fresh organic produce for the district’s school lunch program. The lunch garden will eventually be complemented by a nutrition lab, a science lab, a maker’s lab for visiting students, an educational space for local organizations, a one acre community garden, and a one acre hands-on educational garden. The site is also bordered by a food forest that will be used to grow other organic produce for the community.

Farm Lab has been in the “pilot phase” since the end of the 2014-2015 school year and has so far leveraged its space as a tool for offering hands-on lessons and experiential learning to students at all nine elementary schools in EUSD. Farm Lab Director Mim Michelove says Farm Lab is using a “D.R.E.A.M.S.” approach to education that focuses lessons on Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Science. The hope is that students can spend an entire day in a centralized location and experience a variety of educational activities that require more time than typical classroom lessons. Read More

Getting Creative in Colorado: An Oral History of the State’s Oldest Organic Farm

June 6, 2016 |
Jerry and Jacquie Monroe of Monroe Organic Farms,

Jerry and Jacquie Monroe, owners of Monroe Organic Farms, Colorado’s oldest organic farms. The Monroes have been practicing sustainable farming methods for nearly a century. Photo courtesy of Wander Media, J.R. and Ali Richards.

Monroe Organic Farms is Colorado’s oldest organic farm, and it has the rich history to prove it. Seedstock recently spoke with co-manager Jacquie Monroe to hear the story in her own words. Although Jacquie joined the farm’s family in 1984 when she married Jerry Monroe Jr. , she feels like she’s been farming alongside the Monroe’s since they got into the industry nearly a century ago.

The Monroes began farming in Kansas in the 1920s, but the family decided to move to Colorado to get away from the bad weather and tornadoes. Once settled, Lester, Jerry Monroe Sr.’s father, farmed a small place northwest of downtown Greeley.

“Jerry Sr. remembers selling produce door to door,” Jacquie Monroe says. “He remembers selling sweet corn, a baker’s dozen—13 ears for a penny—he was maybe 6 or 7 years old around 1933 or 1934.” Read More

Savannah’s Sandy Soil Gives Root to Thriving Organic ‘Superfoods’ Company

May 10, 2016 |
Verdant Kitchen's turmeric bound for Whole Foods. Courtesy verdant Kitchen.

Verdant Kitchen’s turmeric bound for Whole Foods. Courtesy verdant Kitchen.

Ross Harding and Howard Morrison decided to start a company together in 2012 after Harding hurt his neck. The problem? Neither were sure what they wanted to do. So, they met at Morrison’s family plantation—known as Lebanon Plantation, an acre of land that dates back to King George’s land grab in the 1700s—in Savannah, Georgia and had a talk. The friends discussed wellness, health, and good food.

After their conversation, the soon-to-be-business partners decided to use the land at the Plantation to organically grow two emerging “superfoods”—ginger and turmeric. Harding grew up in Australia close to fields of ginger, so he knew the spicy root would respond well to Georgia’s climate and the sandy soils near Savannah. Turmeric also grows well in warm, steamy climates. He says they chose the spices because they taste great and can easily be made into finished, value-added products. Read More

Organic Farming Research Foundation Releases Grantmaking Review

February 29, 2016 |

organicfarmlogoIn November, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) released a review of research and education projects it funded between 2006 and 2014. An update to their 2006 report, “Investing in Organic Knowledge,” the report offers detailed insights into the most recent period of the organization’s grantmaking.

OFRF has four main areas of focus: policy, education, grantmaking and community. During the 2006-2014 period, OFRF issued a total of $1,452,517 in grants, each averaging around $14,000. Read More