Published by the Community Farm Alliance
for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG).
Please send all editorial and advertising inquiries and
information to: P.O. Box 324 * Elkins, AR 72727; 501-292-3714
Editor: Keith Richards
Editorial Board: Janet Bachmann, Cynthia Hizer, Jean Mills, Renee
Price, Michael Sligh, Hollis Watkins
1. The Courage To Change: The Jackie Judice Family Farm in
2. Georgia Grown Cooperative
3. Farmers Fly To Washington To Educate Congress
4. Farmer Elected to Chair Southern SARE/ACE Executive Council
5. "Virtual" Farmers' Market Goes On-line
6. National Organic Standards One Step Closer
7. Bt Crops May Render Bt Useless
a. Organic Research Grants
b. SARE/ACE Project Summaries on Diskette
10. Calendar of Events
HAVING THE COURAGE TO CHANGE
by Keith Richards
At first glance, the machine shop of Northside Planting looks
like any other on a big South Louisiana sugarcane farm. A jumble
of pick-up trucks, tanks, wagons, machinery, and sheds nestle
around its large metal frame. The sound of a diesel engine and
flame of a welding torch are ever-present as half a dozen men tend
purposefully to their work in the humid haze.
Yet Northside's shop sits in the center of an quiet
revolution. The shop yard contains machinery to cut herbicide
usage, tanks to mix fertilizer according to soil tests, and wagon
bins that will haul cut cane without burning and polluting the
air. Down the road in every direction are composting mountains of
black "waste" waiting to be incorporated into the soil. And in
the surrounding fields, wheat and soybeans are growing alongside
In this part of America, with traditions that run deep,
anything out of the ordinary stands out like a sore thumb.
Soybeans will make the neighbors raise their eyebrows, mountains
draw inquisitive looks, and homemade fertilizers cause bankers to
cringe. Change is only supposed to take place when the
agricultural chemical companies and seed salesmen dictate the
latest technology. Farmers aren't supposed to experiment on their
own. Undaunted, 48-year-old Jackie Judice is leading practical,
farmer-driven change at Northside Planting.
Raising Cane 200 Years
It's not enough for Jackie and his family to partially own
and operate a 3300 acre farm, keeping their finances solvent while
employing 17 full time men. With the help of his wife Rochelle,
sons Clint and Chad, and daughter Brandy, Jackie is on a mission
to restore the soil in his fields to full productivity and develop
a system of farming that sustains them year after year.
The Judice ancestors moved to southern Louisiana--some by way
of Nova Scotia-- from Provence, France in the 1700s. In 1800,
they began farming on some of the same land Jackie farms today,
five years after the sugarcane industry in this area was born.
The bumper sticker on their trucks, "Raising Cane 200 Years:
1795-1995," isn't just a Chamber of Commerce promotion, it's their
Despite this long history, however, Jackie is willing to
question prevailing practices to ensure that sugarcane will be
grown here another 200 years. Sometime in the last decade, the
decreasing production of his land and profits caused him to take
stock. "I kept seeing that we were putting more and more on our
land and getting less off," says Jackie. "The equipment and
technology were getting better every year, but we were getting
"Fifty years ago, before industrialization came to cane
country," he says, "farmers used mules and horses for power, so
they had to grow corn and oats for feed along with cane. That led
to rotations, better practices, and manure for fertilizer. With
the drop in prices and increased mechanization, there was pressure
to plant more. Farmers needed to buy chemicals to cut weeds so
they could manage more acres, and needed chemical fertilizer to
make more grow. This started a system of mining the soil."
Bringing Soil Into Balance
Maybe Jackie's courage to change came from a military tour of
Vietnam. There, he was a point man on patrols and awarded a
purple heart for service. He says, "Knowing now that I got out
safe, going to Vietnam was good for me because it changed my
priorities. That's where I decided for sure I wanted to farm."
After several years of farming more conventionally, Jackie
began talking to other farmers in an effort to solve his lowering
productivity. After meeting some Mennonite farmers from Illinois
at a conference, he was convinced to look at the balance of
nutrients in his soil instead of focusing solely on N, P and K.
He learned calcium in relation to magnesium was an important key
to soil productivity. Through testing, he found out his calcium
levels were very low.
To bring his soil back into balance, he quit using potassium
chloride and triple super phosphate. The latter "ties with the
soil too quickly," according to Jackie. He began broadcasting
potassium sulfate instead.
Jackie also began creating his own fertilizer mixture on the
farm. "We go strictly by soil samples for adding fertility. We
don't believe those high nitrogen rate recommendations. We'll
probably put on an average of 15 pounds to the acre this year."
The fertilizer mix for 1995, applied all at once in April,
included: 32 percent liquid nitrogen, an 11-37 phosphorous source,
potassium nitrate, Bio-C (composted chicken manure with a
biological package), compost tea, and one gallon of molasses per
At the same time, Jackie began looking to the "waste"
products around him for nutrients. He made arrangements to obtain
calcium carbonate, a by-product of refined sugar, for free,
although trucking costs $10/ton from a mill near New Orleans. He
started having his local sugar mill dump their boiler ash--an ash
residue from burning the bagasse after the juice is squeezed from
the cane--on his farm for free. And he is trying to get a
contract for composting waste from local cities, although he lost
the bid on New Iberia's waste due to political decisions. He will
soon compost mountains of these products and spread them onto his
The fields of Northside Planting flank Bayou Teche between
the Atchafalaya Basin and the Gulf of Mexico. With 80 inches of
rain per year, Jackie's biggest concern is getting water off the
growing crop. He says, "Two weeks without rain is a drought for
In these conditions, johnsongrass is a major problem for
farmers. According to the USDA, heavy johnsongrass infestation
can cut yields of sugarcane by 25-50 percent. Jackie is tackling
this problem on several fronts. In talking to his Mennonite
friends in Illinois, he realized that johnsongrass is an indicator
of low calcium. It is proliferating because it is trying to
rebalance his soil. By bringing his calcium/magnesium ratio back
into balance over time, he hopes to lessen the problem.
In the meantime, he continues to use herbicides, but has
invented better equipment to apply them more accurately and
timely, cutting down on aerial spraying. Recently, Jackie also
invented a six row, tractor-mounted "weed-eater" that will cut the
tops out of the johnsongrass, giving the cane time to shade it out
before it grows back. And late in 1994 he planted winter wheat
for the first time on 270 of his acres. He hopes the wheat will
act to suppress the johnsongrass.
Planting any crop other than cane is a radical departure from
the practices of the last 30-40 years. Traditionally, three crops
of sugarcane are grown from each planting--plant cane, first
stubble, and second stubble. In the fourth year, cane fields
would lie fallow while farmers plowed them several times for weed
control during the summer. Four years ago Jackie started planting
soybeans on these formerly fallow fields. This eliminated
plowing, fixed nitrogen in the soil, broke pest and disease
cycles, and added a cash crop to his income. Next year he will
also plant soybeans on the numerous headlands that used to sit
No More Burning
This fall, the Judices will switch to a system of harvesting
that eliminates the need for burning. All ripe cane in south
Louisiana used to be cut at the tops and bottoms, then piled in
rows in the field. The rows were burned to get rid of
trash--loose leaves that absorb sugar in the milling
process--before loading the cane onto wagons. Neighbors around
farms have increasingly complained about the air pollution and
respiratory problems caused by this practice.
Jackie and his family have invested a considerable amount in
machinery to make the switch. By harvesting their cane with a
combine that cuts the crop, strips the trash off the stalk, and
chops the stalks into 10" segments, they will eliminate the
noxious burning. The trash will compost in the field.
These are but a few of the innovations Jackie has in mind.
He wants to start pasturing horses and cattle on the grassy
drainage areas of the farm and raise chickens in the yards. He'd
also like to begin an organic test plot of sugarcane to see what
problems he would encounter.
His works don't stop at the edge of his land. Jackie
cofounded the Acadiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
(SAWG) with Helen Vinton of Southern Mutual Help Association. He
serves on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coordinating
Committee (NSACC) and is very active in community organizations.
Ironically, a common criticism Jackie hears from the
sustainable ag community is that he isn't changing fast enough, or
going totally organic today. Jackie responds by saying, "We've
got 200 years of bad habits, but we can't change overnight."
Those who share his perspective know he's going at just the right
speed, and making a major impact in south Louisiana along the way.
For further information about Acadiana SAWG, contact: Jackie
Judice, 140 Northside Rd., New Iberia, LA 70560; 318-365-1787 or
Helen Vinton, Southern Mutual Help Association, 5002 Old
Jeanerette Rd., New Iberia, LA 70560; 318-367-3277.
FARMER ELECTED CHAIR OF SOUTHERN SARE/ACE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Tom Trantham, a dairy farmer from Pelzor, SC was elected
chairman of the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research &
Education (SARE)/Agriculture in Concert with the Environment (ACE)
Administrative Council at a May meeting in Atlanta, GA. This is
the first time a farmer has held the chairmanship of this guiding
"I've worked hard since 1983 to direct and change the course
of agriculture to make it responsive to family farms," said
Trantham. But he believes change can only really take place if
there is farmer input at all levels of the agricultural industry,
including research and education.
Along with the chairmanship, Trantham has been automatically
appointed to the Executive Committee of the Operations Committee
for the National SARE/ACE Program.
GEORGIA GROWN COOPERATIVE
Three years ago the Georgia Organic Growers Association
(GOGA) decided to help local certified organic farmers market
their premium produce. Many Georgia farmers were getting
certified, and later dropping their certification because they
couldn't find marketing outlets for their food.
With ten farmers, the GOGA certification director, Larry
Conklin, and a marketing director, Cynthia Hizer; an informal
marketing cooperative called Georgia Grown was formed. Hizer
recalls, "The original name was much longer and loftier, something
like "From Field to Cook, Locally Grown Certified Organic Farmers
Cooperative." I found after a few dozen phone calls of explaining
who and what we were, Georgia Grown became the name. It was easy
to say, and immediately identified us as local."
Their goal was to market produce collectively, in an
organized and professional manner, and to develop recognition for
Started Marketing To Chefs
"Our original game plan was to work with the best chefs in
Atlanta for three reasons," says Hizer. "They were more savvy
about organics and high quality produce. They had more money to
spend than low and medium priced restaurants, and since most of
them were smaller, they wouldn't overwhelm us with their needs
while we were still small."
"I interviewed a dozen chefs and hand-picked five to work
with the first year," says Hizer. These chefs were chosen for
their commitment to organics and local farmers, and their
willingness to work with the fledgling co-op. Hizer then
researched the buying patterns of the restaurants for product,
quantity, variety, and size of produce used.
She also educated the chefs on GOGA's certification
standards. "I wanted them to understand our deep commitment and
how hard we were working to bring them the best and cleanest
Hizer felt controlled market growth was the best policy, but
circumstances altered her plan. She says, "Right in the middle of
controlled growth, everyone's okra and yellow squash came in, and
I was scrambling for new outlets. This was difficult because I
felt each new account needed the hand-holding I had given the
first group, and besides, it's difficult to draw in a new customer
with just okra to sell."
"We quickly added local natural food stores to our group,"
she adds. "While they didn't pay as much as the chefs, they
bought much larger quantities." Also, the natural food stores
filled the need for some growers to have their produce available
for the general public, not just served in expensive restaurants.
This mix of restaurants and retailers has been their target market
This year Georgia Grown also has a booth at a newly opened
organic farmers market in Atlanta organized by GOGA. The co-op
sells members' produce left over after sales to their regular
Growing a Structure
"When the co-op began, the farmers would call me on Sunday
night and tell me what they would have the following Tuesday and
Friday," says Hizer. "This was difficult, especially for new
growers who couldn't project poundage just by walking out to their
fields. It caused a lot of confusion, but all the farmers are
getting much better."
"With the information from the farmers, I wrote an
availability sheet and faxed it to the chefs. They would call me
back with their orders, and I would call the farmers and give them
their orders. Tuesday and Friday mornings the farmers arrived at
my house, we sorted the produce in my living room, and I would
deliver it in my pick up truck."
"This was clearly a mom and pop deal," says Hizer, "no air
conditioning in my cabin, no cooling in my truck. It became an
immediate problem. Eventually I was able to turn the deliveries
over to one of our farmers, Nicolas Donck, who has a van with air
conditioning. We are now in the process of buying a refrigerated
"In the second year, a local catering firm rented us their
back dock at a low fee to accommodate all the produce in a cooled
area, and gave us space in their walk-in cooler for delicate items
like greens, lettuces, and edible flowers. It has helped us grow
and given us a professional place to hang our hat."
"Also, in the middle of our second year," says Hizer, "I
turned the marketing over to Ann Brewer, who has taken the
organization further and further. She's good with numbers,
organization and marketing savvy."
Brewer says co-op sales have increased from $10,000 two years
ago to $34,000 last year. "In the first six months of 1995 we
will reach what we did all of last year," she says. "And we're
selling year-round; we haven't missed a delivery week."
Business and Membership
"The first year we worked very informally, with an advisory
board," says Hizer. "We wanted to see if the co-op ideal would
even work before we launched into forming a corporation, writing
by-laws, and getting official. I spoke regularly with the ACS
[USDA Agricultural Cooperative Service] folks in Washington, but I
felt we weren't ready to fly them down for consultation."
This year Georgia Grown finally incorporated, obtained a
business license, and registered their name.
Five of the original ten members of the co-op have been
joined by ten new growers to make a group of fifteen. "Some of
the original members were too small and not used to growing
sequentially," says Hizer. "It got frustrating when we would
introduce a wonderful item, entice the chefs, give them a little
bit one week, and not have it again. The chefs got frustrated and
we lost credibility. And once you lose credibility, it is harder
to win it back."
Now the co-op has planning meetings a couple times a year.
Brewer talks to the chefs to find out what they want for the
coming season, and the growers use that information to plan their
plantings. They try to stagger crops so not everyone is growing
tomatoes or collards at the same time, and everyone gets a shot at
"We've learned many hard lessons about how we are only as
good as our last delivery," says Hizer. "We found out the hard
way that when a farmer would send an item with poor
quality--anything from wrong size or variety to bad appearance--it
usually ruined all future sales of that item for all the growers
in the co-op. In a few instances, we haven't been able to sell
those items since. All our reputations are at stake: the
individual farmers', the co-op's, GOGA's, and organic produce in
"The co-op helps farmers with technical growing assistance.
This includes telephone calls and visits to farms across the
state. They also try to hook farmers up with researchers who are
engaged in related work.
"We spend a lot of time working with the farmers on quality
control, appearance standards, grading, post-harvest techniques,
trimming, packaging, and merchandising," says Hizer. "Our
president, Margo Putnam, produce buyer for Sevananda, Atlanta's
largest natural food store, holds technical meetings in her store.
She discusses everything on the shelves and pulls boxes out of the
cooler for examples. She has been instrumental in helping improve
the overall quality standards."
Georgia Grown strives to have all their produce look
beautiful, since they are selling to a premium audience. Hizer
says, "This has been a hard hurdle for farmers used to selling
greens with holes. Our stuff is perfect, and that is the biggest
reason we have flourished."
"The current growers are hardworking and have gotten good at
what they do," believes Hizer. "Their quality has improved
remarkably, and we're much more consistent in having produce week
"The Atlanta market is much more price driven than LA, San
Francisco, or New York markets," according to Hizer. "Outside of
a very few, most of the Atlanta chefs will take commercial over
organic unless our prices are right in line. The first year we
were considerably higher; now we are matching the national organic
wholesalers, and often going lower. We have had to do this to
keep the natural food store accounts, which have become important
to us, and also, to stay up with the commercial market." Lowering
prices hasn't made some farmers happy, but more produce is
In the beginning Hizer hoped to establish prices and stick
with them throughout the year, without fluctuating as most produce
houses do. But it didn't work. "When the prices drop elsewhere,
our chefs and stores expect us to follow the trend and go down
accordingly," she says.
Of course, when prices are sky high in California, those same
customers think Georgia Grown's prices should be lower. Hizer
sighs, "This has been one of our constant challenges."
"Also, in the beginning we gave the farmers 75 percent of the
sale, the co-op keeping 25 percent (10 percent to marketing, 5
percent to accounting and payroll, 5 percent to delivery, and 5
percent to the co-op kitty)," says Hizer. "It became a problem.
People wanted their produce to go to the restaurants rather than
the stores because the restaurants paid more. The solution was a
total change in the way things are priced. One base price is paid
to the grower regardless of who it is sold to. With only a few
glitches, it has worked well. Month to month we find the grower
still getting 74 to 78 percent of the sale."
Deepening the Relationship
They found early on that sampling sells. Georgia Grown
provides the chefs with plenty of produce samples to let them
taste what they have to offer. Hizer says, "It's been an
indispensable part of the co-op's marketing plan."
"We have also been inviting different chefs to the loading
dock on Friday mornings," says Hizer. "It started when we were
having some quality problems and asked our number one chef,
Guenter Seeger of the Ritz Carlton Buckhead Dining Room, to come
to the dock. We wanted our quality to be inspected right on the
spot, not after it was at the restaurant."
This was so successful that they added Seeger to the co-op
advisory board and invited other chefs out to the dock. Hizer
says, "The farmers love meeting the people who are buying their
produce, and the chefs love meeting the "real" farmers. Great
dialogues have developed. The farmers get immediate feedback from
someone they respect, and the chefs get more knowledge about our
produce." She believes the farmers respect information on
quality, taste and packaging more when it comes from the buyers
than from the marketing person.
"Now we are inviting new chefs, prospective customers and
other wholesalers who want to buy from us to the dock on Fridays
to introduce them to all the produce," Hizer says.
For more information contact: Ann Brewer, Georgia Grown
Cooperative, 193 Cewlor Ln., Covington, GA 30209; 404-786-1933.
USDA Rural Business Cooperative Development Service, Ag Box
3252, Washington, DC 20250; 202-690-0368. Formerly the USDA
Agricultural Cooperative Service, they provide a wide variety of
support services and consultation to beginning and existing
agricultural cooperatives. Many services are free.
Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
FARMERS FLY TO WASHINGTON TO EDUCATE CONGRESS
by Julie Burns
Over sixty farmers, scientists and other sustainable
agriculture advocates traveled to Washington, D.C. the first week
of June to educate and lobby key members of Congress on existing
sustainable agriculture programs and new proposals for the 1995
Farm Bill. After the fly-in, during which 130 lobby visits took
place, feedback from congressional offices suggested that many
members of Congress had been swayed by the mass visit.
Participants from the Southern region who flew in on behalf
of the Campaign were Ina Young (AR), Skip Polson (AR), Rose Koenig
(FL), Larry Schwartz (KY), Tribby Vice (KY), Joe Judice (LA),
Jackie Judice (LA), Frank Taylor (MS), Ron Flye (NC), David Harris
(NC), Lawrence Kriegel (TX), Dennis Holbrook (TX), Archer
Christian (VA), and Savanah Williams (VA). In addition to making
visits to congressional offices, many attended meetings with USDA
officials where topics such as the Sustainable Agriculture
Research & Education (SARE) program, conservation programs, and
research and extension priorities were discussed. They also
participated in a forum with national environmental groups on the
subject of "Whole Farm Planning" and a "Hill briefing" on
alternatives for improving the current commodity program system.
Joe Judice, a sugar cane farmer from south Louisiana who
lobbied primarily on the need for continued funding for SARE and
Chapter 3, as well as continuation of the sugar program, came away
feeling like he had truly educated Senate and House staff about
these programs. Judice said, "We told them we are sustainable
farmers, have been in business for 200 years, and want to continue
another 200. We want to reverse the loss of family farms and want
other sugar farmers in our area to be able to survive. I never
would have imagined that I'd be lobbying in Washington for my
livelihood, but nobody can tell our story better than we can."
For Ron Flye, a contract poultry grower from eastern North
Carolina, like many of the attendees, lobbying Congress as a group
was a new experience. He remarked, "The whole trip was a thrill
to me. It expands your outlook to spend time with different kinds
of people and realize that everybody basically has the same
problems." Flye felt congress members were impressed by citizens
traveling so far to discuss their concerns. "I really think these
visits mean a whole lot more than 25 letters."
On June 14, the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee voted to
continue (somewhat reduced) funding for many of the programs
Southern SAWG has prioritized, including the SARE program and
Chapter 3, the Water Quality Incentive Program (WQIP), the WIC
Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, and the National Organic Foods
Production Act. This was seen as a significant victory.
Unfortunately, ATTRA and the Minority Farmers Outreach programs
were not given any funding by the House committee. However, it is
possible they will be funded by the Senate committee, especially
if constituents keep the pressure on.
According to Margaret Krome, with the Sustainable Agriculture
Coalition, "In this ferocious budget climate, we've started
extremely well. Now we've got to make sure we have Senate
champions to hold these gains and protect the programs that got
cut in the House." To do this, members of the Senate Ag
Appropriations Subcommittee were targeted for calls and letters in
the last half of June.
To find out how you can help in the next stage of the
Campaign, contact Julie Burns, Southern Coordinator, 12 Laurel
Ave, Asheville, NC 28804; 704-255-8376 or e-mail to
A "VIRTUAL" FARMER'S MARKET
A new electronic newsletter is offering small farmers,
gardeners and craftspeople an alternative way to market their
products. Farmer's Market Online puts farmers in contact with
millions of potential customers at several locations on the
Internet, including the World Wide Web. Farmers don't have to be
hooked up to the Internet or even own a computer to participate.
Set up much like an open-air market, this "virtual" farmer's
market has individual "Booths" where sources for fresh fruits and
vegetables, herbs, meats, flowers, seeds, craft items, pets and
livestock, and other items are displayed for sale, trade or
barter. There's also a "Bulletin Board" with news about farming
and marketing farm products and a "Shopping Lists" posting space
where shoppers can identify products they are trying to find.
The service was designed especially to serve small-scale
farms and ranches, or producers of specialty foods and crafts who
can ship their products by common carrier. Booth spaces can be
reserved for 50 weeks for $25, which includes weekly delivery of
the publication to an e-mail address. Receiving the newsletter by
fax or postal mail costs extra.
Printed samples of Farmer's Market Online are available for
$2.50. Subscriptions are $25 for 50 weeks via e-mail, 16 weeks
via fax, or 10 weeks by postal mail. Contact: Outrider News
Service, Box 277, Shoshone, ID 83352-0277; fax 208-886-7602 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BT CROPS MAY RENDER BT USELESS
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave the
final approval needed for the commercialization of the first
genetically engineered insecticidal crop--Bt potato developed by
Monsanto. The new potato was engineered to contain an insect
toxin gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt),
which is currently used in spray form by organic and sustainable
agriculture farmers to control the Colorado potato beetle.
Waiting in line at EPA and the USDA for commercial approval are
two additional Bt crops, corn and cotton, developed by Ciba-Geigy
and Monsanto, respectively.
All sustainable farmers have an important stake in the
commercialization of Bt crops. The widespread adoption of Bt
crops is expected to accelerate the development of resistance to
Bt as a result of continuous exposure of insects to the toxins as
they feed on the engineered plants. Insects that develop
resistance to Bt in the engineered crops will also be resistant to
Bt sprays--thereby rendering the sprays useless to control insect
pests on potato, corn, cotton, and perhaps other crops. Some
scientists predict that resistance could develop within just a few
growing seasons. If this happens, farmers would lose a valuable
tool as an alternative to chemical insecticides.
Resistance can be delayed significantly by the deployment of
management strategies. Though research has been underway for
years to develop such plans, additional work is needed before
detailed, proven programs are in place. Thus far, neither EPA nor
the USDA has a comprehensive, enforceable strategy for retarding
resistance to Bt.
Write to the EPA and USDA
The Union of Concerned Scientists asks sustainable
agriculture advocates to write to the EPA and USDA soon. Urge
them to delay approvals of any additional Bt crops pending
development of an effective, comprehensive plan for retarding
resistance to Bt. Ask them not to squander Bt as a natural
resource by premature approval of Bt crops. Tell them the
importance of Bt to organic growers. Explain that Bt crops are
not the way to go for long-term reductions in the use of synthetic
Address your letters or faxes to: Dr. Lynn Goldman,
Assistant Administrator Environmental Protection Agency/OPPTS, 401
M St. SW, Washington, DC 20460; fax: 202-260-1847. Dr. Lonnie
King, Acting Administrator USDA/APHIS, AG-Box 3401, Room 312E,
Washington, DC 20090-6464; fax: 202-720-3054. Send a copy of your
letter to: Richard Rominger, Deputy Secretary, USDA,
Administration Building, Suite 202B, 14th and Independence Avenue,
Washington, DC 20250.
For more information, contact Union of Concerned Scientists,
1616 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-332-0900.
ORGANIC RESEARCH GRANTS
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is offering
funds for organic farming methods research, dissemination of
research results to organic farmers and growers in transition, and
consumer education on organic farming issues. Projects should
involve farmers in both design and execution, and take place on
working organic farms whenever possible. Proposals of $3,000 to
$5,000 are encouraged. Deadlines for the next two funding cycles
are July 31, 1995 and January 15, 1995.
To obtain the procedures for grant applications, contact:
Grants Program, Organic Farming Research Foundation, PO Box 440,
Santa Cruz, CA 95061; 408-426-4006.
SARE/ACE PROJECT SUMMARIES ON DISKETTE
Project summaries of the Sustainable Agriculture Research &
Education (SARE) and Agriculture in Concert with the Environment
(ACE) Programs from 1988 to 1993 have been compiled on an InfoBase
computer disk. Produced for the Sustainable Agriculture Network,
this program allows users to search the projects by subject
through inputing key words.
A limited number of free copies of the InfoBase, on 3.5" disk
for PC-type computers only, have been made available to Southern
SAWG through the Southern SARE/ACE Program. If you would like a
copy, contact Southern Sustainable Farming, PO Box 324, Elkins, AR
72727; 501-292-3714, or e-mail to HN3551@handsnet.org.
NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS ONE STEP CLOSER
The major portion of the National Organic Standards Board
(NOSB) meeting in Orlando during April was dedicated to the review
of 38 processing materials and 22 crops and livestock materials.
The board members, with due diligence and careful consideration,
discussed and decided the fate of each of these materials. The
decisions were not made casually or without regard for the
principles of organic agriculture.
The age-old debate about whether organic is a non-synthetic
methodology was held once again. At times during the materials
review, many board members struggled with their decisions,
considering the public input and expectations as well as the
historical experiences of organic farmers. Many of the synthetic
materials allowed for organic production have use restrictions and
The following annotations and recommendations were approved
by the NOSB:
General Annotation For All Processing Materials
All non-agricultural ingredients used as ingredients in
organic foods (which contain at least 95 percent organic
ingredients) must appear on the National List. An allowed
synthetic ingredient or processing aid that is compatible with
organic handling principles may be used in organic foods only when
an acceptable, non-synthetic ingredient is commercially
Non-organic agricultural ingredients may be used in organic
foods only when an acceptable organically produced form is
commercially unavailable. Justification of use of non-organic
ingredients as well as efforts to develop organic sources must be
addressed within the Organic Handling Plan and record keeping
requirements. All ingredients must be food grade quality as
defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
General Annotation On All Crop & Livestock Materials
There are a few non-synthetic materials which are
commercially unavailable as generic crop production inputs unless
combined with synthetic stabilizers or other additives. Such
materials must, after identification of the specific synthetic
additive materials, be evaluated as Allowed Synthetics on the
Organic Is Defined
The NOSB approved the following definition of "organic."
Organic Agriculture is an ecological production management system
that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and
soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm
inputs and management practices that restore, maintain and enhance
"Organic" is a labeling term which denotes products produced
under the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act. The
principle guidelines for organic production are to use materials
and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural
systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an
ecological whole. Organic Agriculture practices can not ensure
that products are completely free of residues; however, methods
are used to minimize pollution from the air, soil and water.
Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to
standards that maintain the integrity of Organic Agriculture
products. The primary goal of Organic Agriculture is to optimize
the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil
life, plants, animals, and people.
This article originally appeared in a longer version in the
Organic Report, June 1995 published by the Organic Trade
Association, PO Box 1078, Greenfield, MA 01301; 413-774-7511.
The next NOSB meeting will be October 30-November 3 in
Austin, TX. For information, contact: Michael Sligh, PO Box 727,
Mauldin, SC 29662; 803-297-8562.
IMMEDIATE OPENINGS. Centro 16 de Septiembre Farmworkers Organic
Cooperative Farm is seeking individuals to fill two positions:
Farm Director and Project Coordinator. Farm Director
responsibilities focus on overseeing farm operations, conducting
member trainings and farm planning. Project Coordinator
responsibilities focus on marketing, administrative tasks and
cooperative development. Centro is an organic farm and home
garden project of the United Farmworkers Union which trains farm
workers in organic farming techniques and farm management with the
goal of empowering members with skills necessary to manage their
own farms. Contact the Co-op at PO Box 188, San Juan, TX 78589;
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
August 11-13: Carolina Farm Stewardship Assoc. & Southeastern
Permaculture Summer Mountain Gathering, Burnsville, NC. Phone
August 19: An Introduction to Permaculture, Virginia Assoc. for
Biological Farming, Twin Oaks Community, Louisa Co., VA. Phone
September 9: Noah's Ark Today: The Need to Preserve Heritage
Breed Animals, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy & Virginia
Assoc. for Biological Farming, Staunton, VA. Phone 804-263-4557.
September 10: Virginia Assoc. for Biological Farming Apple
Orchard Day, Crump's Little Orchard, Amherst Co., VA. Phone
September 15-17: Southern SAWG Steering Committee meeting. Phone
October 6-7: Eco-Fair Texas, Convention Center, Austin, TX.
October 13: Deadline for Southern SARE/ACE grant proposals for
both research projects and regional training projects. Contact:
Southern SARE/ACE, 1109 Experiment St., Griffin, GA 30223-1797;
October 30 - Nov. 3: National Organic Standards Board
meeting, Austin, TX. Phone 803-297-8562.
November 10-12: Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Carolina Farm
Stewardship Assoc., Black Mountain, NC. Phone 919-968-1030.
January 19-21, 1996: Southern SAWG Annual Conference & Trade
Show, Lexington, KY. Phone 501-292-3714 for conference info or
606-987-0215 for trade show info.