Organic News

Flowers Replace Insecticides in Lettuce Production

Research generated by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in the heart of America’s Salad Bowl is showing how lettuce growers can control pests without the use of insecticides, by allowing a few flowering plants to grow among the salad greens.

Survey Season for Organic Farmers

Important questionnaires will be landing in rural mailboxes and inboxes in the coming weeks, aimed at helping the organic community take stock of the past year, and strategize for the future. Surveys distributed by Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) are designed to capture very different types of data, from every organic farmer in the U.S.

Congressional Organic Caucus Sees Promise in New Year

January 6, 2015 - As the US House of Representatives kicks off our nation’s 114th Congress today, OFRF welcomes back 32 members of the House Organic Caucus, and sends our thanks and appreciation to the eight caucus members who will not return in 2015, due to a combination of planned retirements and the 2014 mid-term elections.

Founded in 2003 at the instigation of Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), and sponsored by Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), the bi-partisan House Organic Caucus boasted 40 members in 2014. The eight departing caucus members include retiring congressional heavyweights George Miller (D-CA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), along with friends of organic ag Doc Hastings (R-Wash), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Tom Latham (R-IA), James Moran (D-VA), Bill Owens (D-NY), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

Reserve Your Seat - Tickets Now Available for OFRF's 18th Annual Luncheon at Expo West

 

Join us on Thursday, March 5, 2015, from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm on the sunny Grand Plaza of the Anaheim Convention Center, as we celebrate a quarter-century of organic community, hard work, and innovation.

Network with the movers and shakers of the natural and organic industry, and enjoy a spectacular seasonal organic feast prepared by guest chefs Chris Blobaum and Donna Prizgintas.

Click here to order tickets!

Policy Associate

Policy Associate
Organic Farming Research Foundation
JOB POSTING

Job Title: Policy Associate
Job Type: Part-time
Job Location: Washington, DC or Santa Cruz, CA
 

Press Release: OFRF Welcomes Dr. Diana Jerkins as Research Program Director

 
Press Release
 
OFRF Welcomes Dr. Diana Jerkins as Research Program Director
 
SANTA CRUZ, CA - Organic Farming Research Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Diana Jerkins, has joined our staff as OFRF’s Research Program Director.
 

Celebrity Chefs Reunite for OFRF 25th Anniversary Luncheon at Expo West

Chef Donna Prizgintas, who presided over OFRF’s very first Annual Luncheon at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in 1998, is re-uniting with longtime colleague du cuisine Chris Blobaum to help celebrate our Foundation’s 25th anniversary year.

This year’s luncheon, the 18th we have celebrated at Expo West, takes place March 5th 2015, outdoors on the sunny Grand Plaza of the Anaheim Convention Center. This landmark celebration is being co-sponsored by a number of OFRF's generous supporters, including New Hope Media, Aramark, Amy's Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms, Santa Cruz Organics, and Nature's Path.

Chef Donna, a 15-year volunteer for OFRF, will be flying in from her home in Ames, Iowa, where she co-hosts the DonnaLonna Kitchen cooking show on public radio, and creates sumptuous all-organic menus for special events. Chef Chris, a nationally-known executive chef who has volunteered in the Expo West kitchen for about 14 years, will be making the trip from Atlanta, where he currently runs ten restaurants in five upscale hotels.

Developing Nutritious and Delicious Organic Barley!

Celebrity chefs have not generally featured prominently in the organic research that OFRF supports. But Kevin Murphy, the principal researcher on one of our most recently funded projects, Developing Nutritious and Delicious Varieties for the Pacific Northwest, is changing that. And his approach could land the results of this research on the table of the First Family! In order to test the “delicious” part of his endeavors, Dr. Murphy has enlisted the support of Chef Bill Yosses, White House Executive Pastry Chef, as well as Chef Dan Barber, renowned executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill Restaurant in New York; and Chef Chad Robertson, co-owner of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine in San Francisco.

Barley, which is an important grain crop, is used predominantly for animal feed and malting, but is also an important part of human diets. Barley provides a number of health and nutrition benefits, including beta-glucans, which have been shown to contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol concentrations. This led the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow barley to be labeled as a heart-healthy food that reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. However, most of the barley that is grown domestically for human food comes from hulled feed barley varieties. It is then dehulled during pearling, a process that removes the nutritionally rich bran, which contains tocols, phenols, mineral nutrients, and other beneficial compounds. These varieties also generally contain much lower beta-glucan contents. Developing nutritionally dense and hulless varieties will eliminate the need for the aggressive (and not inexpensive) process of dehulling/pearling, and will maximize the tremendous potential nutritional benefits of barley.

USDA Targets Citrus Greening with Tree Removal, Replacement Funds

Florida organic citrus growers plagued by an epidemic of Citrus Greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), received a boost from the federal government last week with an expansion of the agency’s Tree Assistance Program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new funding to share the costs of removing diseased trees and replanting with healthy stock. The funding is currently available only in Florida, where the bacterial disease has spread to an estimated 99 percent of the state’s citrus groves. The tree-replacement funds will be available to all Florida farmers, including organic growers, who farm about 3,000 acres in the sunshine state.

The tree replacement aid comes on the heels of $31.5 million in USDA funding allocated this year for research and extension service projects combating HLB, which is inflicting serious damage in Florida and has established toeholds as far afield as Texas and California. Some of those federal funds are supporting research of interest to organic growers.

“Organic growers qualify (for the tree replacement funds) just the same as conventional growers,” said Ben McLean, vice-president of Uncle Matt’s Organics, the largest organic citrus grower in Florida. “And we’ve found the USDA has been really encouraging regarding research funding for organic disease control methods.”

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