The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


US-Japan agree to make it easier to import each other’s organic products

The Associated Press announces a new US-Japan deal that could lead to more organic options.

The United States and Japan have agreed to make it easier to import each other’s organic products, the latest step in a global effort that could give consumers access to more — and cheaper — organic food.
The Agriculture Department announced an agreement Thursday between the United States and Japan that will allow organic products to be certified in one of the countries and be sold as organic in both. The agreement will allow producers to sell their products in both countries without going through the lengthy process of getting certified twice.
The agreement is similar to a 2009 deal with Canada and a 2012 deal with the European Union. Agriculture officials say they are looking at agreements with other countries — South Korea, and possibly India, Brazil and Mexico down the road — that could also make it easier for U.S. organic farmers to sell abroad. Continue reading

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Certified Naturally Grown Label Tailored for Direct-Market Farmers

Mary Esch of the Associated Press writes about some organic farmers in the Northeast that are eschewing organic certification by the USDA:

Started by a group of organic farmers in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley as a backlash against federal takeover of the organic program in 2002, Certified Naturally Grown has expanded over the past decade to include more than 700 farms in 47 states, executive director Alice Varon said.
“Certified Naturally Grown is tailored for direct-market farmers producing food without any synthetic chemicals specifically for their local communities,” Varon said. “It’s a particular niche of the agricultural world. It’s not in direct competition with the national organic program.”
Many small farmers previously certified organic by an independent organization have declined to participate in the federal program. They voice a variety of objections: extensive record-keeping requirements; fees that can amount to 6 percent of a small farm’s gross sales; and philosophical objections to joining a monolithic government-run program that also certifies huge operations that ship produce across the country.
“We have noticed over time that more and more farmers — often, younger farmers — who appear to be following organic practices don’t bother to get certified,” said Jack Kittredge, co-owner of a certified organic farm in Barre, Mass., and editor of “The Natural Farmer,” journal of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. “My major concern is that sometimes, unless you’re certified you’re not even aware of some of the problems,” such as calling livestock organic even though the animals eat feed containing genetically modified crops. Continue reading

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Cicia, First Fully Organic Island in Fiji

I posted information on Cicia, the first island in Fiji to become fully organic before, but, as Islands Business states, this story did not get enough coverage.  The author of the article lays out the drawbacks of industrial agriculture and lauds Cicia’s decision to reject the industrial farming practices they once embraced to become fully certified organic and go back to their traditional ways of farming.

Despite the near double digit growth rates that countries like China and India are registering through the industrial development route in the past few decades, the bedrock of their economies is still agriculture, both in the formal and informal sectors. The march of industrialisation transformed agriculture, which was once the art of growing food for subsistence, into the business of growing food for profit. Agriculture today is a complex activity involving some of the world’s biggest corporate houses, progressively diminishing the value of small agriculturists, often driving them out of business, into indebtedness and even mass suicides (as has been happening in India for several years now). Continue reading

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Organic food more expensive because federal government uses your tax dollars to subsidize GMOs, junk food

One of the biggest complaints among ordinary families trying to eat healthy is that clean, organic food is simply too expensive, and thus out of reach for the average budget. But eating right does not have to break the bank, especially when you know what to look for and how to shop for it. Here are some helpful tips for maximizing your food budget while still being able to afford the best foods for your family:

1) Buy local. Though not always certified organic by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), many of the foods sold at your local farmers market are likely grown using organic methods. In fact, many local farmers and backyard gardeners employ growing methods that exceed certified organic standards, and yet are able to sell their goods for less as a result of not having to pay for official USDA organic certification. Continue reading

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First Fully Organic Island in the Pacific

Fiji’s first fully organic island is waiting certification

Food Magazine  brings us news about Fiji’s first fully organic island:

Cicia Island located in Fiji’s Lau group is the first fully organic island in the Pacific and is currently awaiting official organic certification.

The island has been used to predominately grow root vegetables, and for the production of virgin coconut oil which has been exported to Fiji’s main islands and internationally.

Mere Salusalu, spokesperson for Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture told ABC’s Pacific Beat program that the organic certification would represent a great boost for export and tourism opportunities.

“The government of Fiji recognises the potential and opportunities that organic will continuously provide in protecting our environment,” she said.

“I think in a few years time we will be getting visitors from abroad to the island, so that they eat and live organically on the island.”

Salusalu said that no fertilisers or chemicals have been used on the island for at least six to eight years.

“Traditional farming practices have evolved over a long period…and are still practiced now – and all these farming principles align well with organic principles,” said Salusalu.

By:  Aoife Boothroyd

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The Truth About Organic Foods from China

The information provided by Dr. Josh Axe in his post  The Truth About Organic Foods from China is disturbing but not surprising.  There has been one scandal after another regarding the substandard quality of products imported from China.  Why should organic foods be any different? As long as shoddy standards, little regulation and rampant corruption exist, these scandals will continue.  I’ve posted Dr. Axe’s entire article and links to his sources:

There are articles all over the Internet right now about “fake organic” food from China. Wanting to keep you informed, I read through many of them. The problem was, they all seemed to quote other sources and reading on, I found that these sources quoted other sources and so on. There didn’t seem to be any credible first-hand sources for this information. Was this all just rumor run rampant, as Whole Foods claims?

Whole Foods has been accused of selling these “fake organic” foods from China but they claim that “any product sold as organic in the US, regardless of where it’s grown, must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program standard by a USDA-accredited certifier.”

Well, I wanted to know more about this USDA certification of imported organics. It took quite a bit of digging but what I eventually found was more disturbing than any of those copycat articles.

I found frightening information about all food from China, frightening lack of regulation concerning organic food from China, and, worst of all, shocking information about our National Organic Program (NOP).

Before I go on, I want to reassure you about your options. You don’t have to break the bank buying all of your foods organic. Read which foods are commonly pesticide-ridden and those that usually aren’t in How to Buy Organic. I’ll tell you about the “beyond organic” movement that has arisen in response to NOP problems. Check out this source here to learn more, What is Beyond Organic? Continue reading

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Chicago Urban Farm Receives USDA Organic Certification

farmedhere organic vertical farming

The FarmedHere urban farming company, which has been successfully conducting urban farming work in the Chicago area since 2011, has received USDA organic certification.

The organic vertical farming practice makes use of derelict warehouses to produce food for the community. The company recently expanded with a new 90,000 square foot post-industrial building in Bedford Park, Illinois, on top of their 10,000 square foot warehouse in Flanagan and a smaller operation in Englewood.

The new warehouse, located 15 miles from Chicago, grows more than one million pounds of greenery such as herbs, arugula, watercress and other micro greens, per year. The greenery is sold to local restaurants and stores in Chicago, including Whole Foods and Green Grocer.

Production is based on two systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Several types of fish, mainly tilapia, are grown in the tanks that feed the aquaponic system which results in very little water wastage.

“We use about three percent of the water of traditional agriculture and it’s all recyclable,” says FarmedHere CEO Jolanta Hardej.

farmedhere organic vertical farming

FarmedHere- Aquaponics produces organic herbs like basil and other greens and supports raising tilapia, while the aeroponics produces leafy greens like arugala and watercress. Continue reading