To create a vehicle for organic farmers to weigh in on national policy issues and raise the profile of U.S. certified organic farmers, Rodale Institute’s Organic Farmers Association has unified with a parallel grassroots national organic effort, the Organic Farmers Alliance.
Going forward as the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), sponsored by Rodale Institute, a farmer-majority interim steering committee has been appointed to ensure this effort is farmer-led and controlled. Elections for the first farmer-majority Governing Council will take place in early 2018.
“It’s time that organic farmers have a clear voice shaping the future of the organic movement they helped build,” said Jim Riddle, organic farmer, Blue Fruit Farm, Winona, Minnesota, and newly appointed chair of the Organic Farmers Association steering committee.
OFA’s mission is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. Its purpose is to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by: developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations. “A lot of people say they speak for organic farmers,” said Jeff Moyer, Executive Director, Rodale Institute. “It’s time we had a clear, unified farmer voice on policy issues that affect our industry and businesses.”
The steering committee includes 12 voting seats for certified organic farmers and seven non-voting seats for organic farm organizations (including fiscal sponsor Rodale Institute):
Dave Colson, New Leaf Farm (Maine)
Jack Erisman, Goldmine Farms (Illinois)
Phil LaRocca, LaRocca Vineyards (California)
Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm (Maryland)
Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Farm (North Dakota) (Officer: Vice Chair)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm and Ranch (Montana) (Officer: Member)
Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farm (California) (Officer: Treasurer)
Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm (Minnesota) (Officer: Chair)
Will Stevens, Golden Russet Farm (Vermont)
Isaura Andaluz, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) (New Mexico)
John Bobbe, Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) (Wisconsin)
Renee Hunt, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) (Ohio)
Maddie Monty, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) (Vermont) (Officer: Secretary)
Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute, Skyhollow Farm (Pennsylvania)
Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) (North Carolina)
(Four additional steering committee seats will be filled in the coming months (3 farm and 1 organization seats))
The United States has more than 16,000 certified organic farms. With American consumers spending more than $43 billion annually on organic food and products, US organic farmers need a place at the table to advocate for policies that will enable them to meet growing demand.
“We are calling on all organic farmers to join in this farmer-led, farmer-controlled association,” said Theresa Podoll, organic farmer, Prairie Road Organic Farm, Fullerton, North Dakota and newly appointed Vice Chair of Organic Farmers Association steering committee.
As demand for organic production continues to increase, it is imperative organic farmers inform policy that impacts our food and agriculture system. “By coming together, we will create a groundswell of organic farmers to inform our decision makers and the public how current and future policies allow us to produce food that is healthy for people and the planet,” said Podoll.
Organic farmers, organic farm organizations, and supporters of organic farmers can join the association by going to OrganicFarmersAssociation.org.