When you get all the stakeholders (organic farmers, consumers,
environmentalists, [oops! the Govenor of Arkansas said he likes
the term conservationist instead of environmentalist because
enviro-types worship nature], conservationships, stewardship-
oriented conventional farmers, university types, and USDA) to
sit at the same table and eat a meal together, you are likely to
strike up a conversation with the person sitting across from you.
Next thing you know, you find that you have a common background
("yeah, I was raised on a strawberry farm back in Iowa....my mom collected
eggs and green onions and sold them at the Farmers' Market"). Next
thing you know, you're talking about USDA-sponsored research and
education that has benefited sustainable agriculture and organic farmers
over the past 10 years.
Did you know that USDA's Deputy Secretary Richard Rominger's son is
an organic farmer in California?
Did you know that Grace Gershuny on the USDA NOP staff is a
longtime organic agriculture advocate who published the following:
* Editor, "Organic Farmer: The Digest of Sustainable Agriculture"
Quarterly journal published for 4 years as a project of Rural Education
*Gershuny, Grace, and Joseph Smillie. 1995. The Soul of Soil: A
Guide to Ecological Soil Management, 3rd Edition. agAccess, Davis,
CA. 174 p.
*Gershuny, Grace. 1993. Start with the Soil. Rodale Press, Emmaus,
PA. 274 p.
Did you see that NOP website.... responsive to public input,
featuring thousands of on-line responses for public viewing?
Did you know the Keith Jones with USDA NOP worked with the organic
program at Texas Department of Agriculture for years?
The conundrum, it seems, lies somewhere between the 1990 vision of a
USDA-approved organic program and the 1998 version of how it should
But it looks like the players are participants at the same conference----the one
where lots of people are wearing tennis shoes, cowboy boots, and jeans----rather
than that confrontational conference where one side looks like Luke Skywalker
and the other side looks (and speaks) like Darth Vader.
Two cents hitting the bottom of a tin cup, clink!
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