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Organic Farmers Association Announces Policy Leadership

Organic Farmers Association, a national membership organization for certified organic farmers, sponsored by Rodale Institute, has announced a new Policy Director and elected the first Policy Committee. This new leadership will facilitate Organic Farmers Association’s policy platform created by certified organic farmer members.

Mark Rokala will serve as Policy Director and lead policy work, under the direction of the newly elected policy committee and coordinating closely with the Organic Farmers Association Director Kate Mendenhall and Steering Committee Chair Jim Riddle. Rokala will be leading work on the farm bill, helping identify Organic Farmers Association farmer members’ policy priorities, connecting members with Congressional leaders, and ensuring that the nation’s federal policies help support thriving independent organic farmers.

Rokala has more than 28 years of experiences in agriculture policy, with 23 of those years working on state and federal agricultural policy. He worked for seven years as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill and 16 years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. focusing on agricultural and food policy.

“The Organic Farmers Association is excited to welcome Mark Rokala as our Policy Director,” said Jim Riddle. “Given the proven power of organic production to promote soil health, produce healthy food, and restore rural economic vitality, organic farmers must make our voices heard in D.C. Mark has a great deal of experience working on federal farm policy, and will help members of Congress and federal agencies understand the importance of investing in and protecting organic systems.”

The first elected Policy Committee is made up of 12 voting certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members. Committee members are regionally diverse and reflect the national diversity of organic farms. The Policy Committee will facilitate OFA’s policy platform, created by certified organic farmer members. From its start in the fall of 2016, Organic Farmers Association has been working to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement with a strong voice advocating for organic farmers. This first Policy Committee will help guide this work forward from the ground up.

2017 Policy Committee includes:
California Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Kenneth Kimes, Greensward / New Natives, LLC, Aptos, California
Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures, Fresno, California
California Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
David Runsten, Policy Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, California
Western Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm & Ranch, Big Sandy, Montana
Pryor Garnett, Garnetts Red Prairie Farm, Sheridan, Oregon
Western Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Kristina Hubbard, Director of Advocacy, Organic Seed Alliance, Missoula, Montana
North Central Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Francis Thicke, Radiance Dairy Fairfield, Iowa
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm, Gays Mills, Wisconsin
North Central Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Matthew Miller, Policy Committee Member, Iowa Organic Association, Ames, Iowa
Midwest Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Michael Adsit, Plymouth Orchards, Plymouth, Michigan
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
Midwest Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Casey Trinkaus, Livestock & Poultry Specialist, The Fertrell Company, Bainbridge, Pennsylvania
Southern Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Laura Freeman, Mt. Folly Farm, Winchester, Kentucky
Jennifer Taylor, Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, Georgia
Southern Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Michael Sligh, Program Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Pittsboro, North Carolina
Northeast Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Rodney Graham, Oxbow Organic Farm, Hunt, New York
Dave Chapman Long Wind Farm, East Thetford, Vermont
Northeast Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Edward Maltby Executive Director, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Deerfield, Massachusetts

New Tuscanini Parchment Crackers Offered in U.S.

From Tuscanini, maker of genuine brick wood oven personal pizzas, authentic home-style sauces, and hand-crafted biscotti, comes Tuscanini Parchment Crackers, paper-thin treats imported from the idyllic island of Sardinia off the sunny Italian coast. The crackers are imported into the U.S. by Kayco.

“Consumers are looking for simple yet sophisticated snack options,” says Kayco Vice President of Marketing Kimberly Cassar. “We know that crackers are found in 77 percent of U.S. households, and there is a demand for healthy yet delicious crackers. Tuscanini’s hand-crafted Parchment Crackers are baked, never fried, so they’re an ideal swap for flatbread, chips, or calorie-heavy snack crackers. Following the consumer preference for ultra-thin snacking options, our parchment crackers deliver authentic Italian flavor with just five simple ingredients and 120 calories per serving.”

All three varieties – olive oil, olive oil with rosemary, and olive oil with oregano – are GMO free and perfect with antipasto or served alongside a cheese plate, and make a delicious complement to an elegant Italian meal. Each cracker is made from an authentic Italian recipe using time-honored techniques to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. They’re OU kosher and dairy free, too.

Imported from Italy and packaged with 10 3.5-ounce packs per case, Tuscanini Parchment Crackers are sold in the cracker category, where they retail for $2.99 per pack, and to upscale restaurants. Kayco, also known as Kedem, is headquartered in Bayonne, New Jersey. Its kosher food products are available at independent grocers and in every major supermarket chain in the U.S. and can be found in more than 30 countries.

Reshaping the Apple Industry

The 25th Trade Show for Alpine Agriculture (Agrialp) kicks off with something truly special. As a little preview of next year’s leading trade show for the apple industry, the Fiera Bolzano exhibition center is offering the second Interpoma Innovation Camp together with IDM Südtirol Alto Adige. The event will be held November 23, 2017.

The aim of the Innovation Camp is to adapt and integrate startups’ ideas and projects in the best possible way to the territory, with a view to further development. Young entrepreneurs that already have their own products or services on the market will introduce themselves over the course of just one day.

InterpomaInnovationCamp_2016_01After getting to know one another and a general welcome, eight participants first present themselves to the group. Then there are two workshop sessions to elaborate and further develop their own ideas with experts and mentors, followed by a lunch break. In the late afternoon, the startups present their elaborated projects in front of invited representatives of the apple and farming industries. The jury announces the winner and the day ends with an informal get-together.

The main prize is a stand at the upcoming Interpoma on November 15-17, 2018, worth €2,500. This is a unique opportunity to meet around 450 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors from over 70 countries, a sure way to give the new business idea a decisive boost. The winners also have the chance to present themselves in front of the assembled international press at the presentation of Interpoma during Fruit Logistica, held in Berlin on February 7, 2018.

Applications for the Interpoma Innovation Camp are open until Friday, October 13 on the event’s website. Any young entrepreneur who developed an innovative solution, product or service in the field of apple cultivation, marketing, logistics or processing can apply.

The Interpoma Innovation Camp is a unique opportunity for all those who want to take on the challenges in the apple sector.

To find out more about the Interpoma Innovation Camp, visit www.startup-village.org/interpoma/2017 or http://www.fierabolzano.it/interpoma/en/

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