Monthly Archives: February 2008

plugging rampfest


The Land Connection is a great organization here in Illinois. They work to, “establish successful farmers on healthy farmland, ensuring an abundance of delicious, local, and organic foods.” Every year they have a fund raiser called RampFest. Ramps are a wild leek. More HERE if you’re interested. It’s the first thing to pop up in the Spring in our woods. Want to taste a ramp? Go to RampFest and support a great cause.

Friday, March 28, 2008
7:00–9:30 p.m.
Prairie Production
1314 W. Randolph Street | Chicago
Free On-street Parking

$75 Regular Tickets ($90 after March 7th)
$120 Benefactor* tickets

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there is hope for this world

This is a fantastic story. Watch and enjoy…

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nop to be reorganized

organic sealSource: Organic Consumers Association — I’m not privy to the inner workings of the USDA’s National Organic Program, but I just called the NOP office and they did confirm that this is happening. No word yet on when it will actually take place. Reorganization could be good or bad. The person I spoke with said they’ve made some reassignments of who is reporting to who. We can hope it will result in a stronger program, but that will depend on who’s in charge and what their agenda.

From the article…

“The NOP is reorganizing into three branches: Standards Development & Review; Accreditation, Auditing & Training; and Compliance & Enforcement. Deputy Administrator for Transportation & Marketing Programs Barbara Robinson will assume overall leadership for the NOP in addition to her other duties, while Mark Bradley will assume leadership for the Accreditation, Auditing & Training Branch, and Richard Mathews will head up the Standards Development & Review Branch. No decision has been made for leadership of Compliance & Enforcement at this time.” [Read the whole article]

Just looked at the NOP website and Mark Bradley is still listed as the Associate Deputy Administrator, the main contact for the NOP. There’s nothing else on the NOP site about the reorganization.

Question is will it mean more funding for organic research and education?

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live-blogging at upper midwest organic conference WRAP UP

ico at moses

Indiana Certified Organic

OK, this “live-blogging” thing is harder than it looks. In fact, what I’ve done here probably doesn’t even qualify as “live.” I tried to keep up, but it took so much time (for me) to write the posts and download the pictures, that I ended up spending more time blogging than conference-ing. Now it’s a couple days later and I’m back in the office trying to wrap it up by memory. Hopefully I captured some of what was going on at LaCrosse. It’s a great meeting, I would say better than Eco-Farm.

The last day I attended a cover crop workshop and the general session. The general session featured Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety and International Center for Technology Assessment. Andrew spoke at Eco-Farm and his presentation at Upper Midwest was the same one he gave in California, so you can read my comments about him on an earlier post. After listening to Mr. Kimbrell we enjoyed our last Upper Midwest organic lunch and headed for home.

Before introducing Andrew Kimbrell, MOSES director, Faye Jones pointed out that they have changed the name of the conference. Now it’s the Organic Farming Conference. They have removed the words “Upper” and “Midwest” from the title. She made an off-handed comment that some other conferences had stolen their name. I almost died. We named our conference this year, the Midwest Organic Production and Marketing Conference. Not a direct rip-off, but I guess it could be perceived as similar and might even cause some confussion. We’ve change our name every year (four) as well as the location. I have to admit that I left the MOSES meeting wondering why we even bother having a conference in Illinois. The LaCrosse meeting is so good, so big, so everything, that it’s hard to think we can even compete. We’ll probably be rethinking our whole approach. I understand now that we’ve been trying to reproduce the MOSES meeting. We need to think about how we can make our meeting uniquely valuable to farmers down here and still complement the MOSES meeting that more and more folks are attending every year.

Thanks for reading!

spontaneous music

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organic fertilizers help mitigate climate change

Source: ENN — This just out! Climate modelers are starting to include farming practices into climate change models. Here now is more evidence that conventional ag fertility decreases soil organic matter and reduces the soil’s capacity to sequester carbon, whereas organic fertilizers (compost, manures, cover crops) increase soil organic matter and likewise the soil’s capacity for sequestering carbon. Increasing organic matter in soils is a win-win-win-win-win…

“…increasing organic matter in soils may cause other greenhouse gas-saving effects, such as improved workability of soils, better water retention, less production and use of mineral fertilizers and pesticides, and reduced release of nitrous oxide.”

Read the whole article, but while we’re on the topic of climate change, here’s a very interesting site called Climate Debate Daily put together by two New Zealand philosophers. The site…

“…links to scientific articles, news stories, economic studies, polemics, historical articles, PR releases, editorials, feature commentaries, and blog entries. The main column on the left includes arguments and evidence generally in support of the IPCC position on the reality of signficant anthropogenic global warming. The right-hand column includes material skeptical of the IPCC position and the notion that anthropogenic global warming represents a genuine threat to humanity.”

Plus more. Seems like a great place to get both sides of the story.


Filed under agriculture, environment, organic