After years of working in corporate America, Relinda Walker volunteered to be laid off to come home to Georgia and take over the family farm.
Being first can have its advantages and disadvantages. Relinda Walker knows that all too well.
Walker’s Organic Farm was one of the first organic operations in South Georgia. It took root in 2005 during a time when eating organic was for foodies and white table cloth chefs. Read more »
: A veteran and participant of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program handles living basil at an organic hydroponic farm, which grows plants in water as opposed to soil. The program, started by decorated Marine sergeant Colin Archipley, passes on agricultural knowledge to veterans to not only provide healing through farming but also to support them in starting their own agricultural enterprises.
Compost tea (a mixture of recycled organic matter soaked in water), hydroponic living basil, and organic certification are terms that, at first glance, may not have much of a connection to military veterans. Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine sergeant, and his wife Karen however saw the combination as a win-win when they founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program outside San Diego, California. Read more »
This is the fifth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
Through defined farming practices, organic principles promote ecological balance, foster the cycling of resources, and conserve biodiversity. To understand what that means when it comes to the label on your food, those principles require some more explanation.
Let’s take a closer look at a snapshot of sustainable food production, using the lifecycle of organic cheddar to get a fuller picture. Read more »
This is the fourth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
When the National Organic Program (NOP) declared in late 2009 that it was the beginning of the “age of enforcement,” it renewed its mission to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and the products labeled organic.
Enforcement efforts are a critical part of that mission, and investigating violations of the organic standards alleged by complaints is an integral component of the NOP’s work. Read more »
As a youngster growing up in rural Jasper County, Miss., Anthony Lovett never forgot the words of his late grandfather, who told him, “Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.”
Cattle and poultry farmer Anthony Lovett and Supervisory District Conservationist Ron Read monitor the success of conservation practices, such as the incinerator and cross-fencing, on his Jasper County farm.
That advice from his beloved grandfather has guided him during his career—the poultry and cattle farmer is no stranger to conservation. In fact, Lovett’s family has worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) since the 1990’s to ensure the land is productive and healthy. Read more »
This is the third installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise.
Amidst nutrition facts, ingredients lists, and dietary claims on food packages, “organic” might appear as one more piece of information to decipher when shopping for foods. So understanding what “organic” really means can help shoppers make informed choices during their next visit to the store or farmers’ market. Read more »