‘Real Organic Project’ plans add-on label, appeals for members
February 23, 2018
A group of organic farmers upset with recent Agriculture Department actions regarding the government's National Organic Program has started a new organization, the Real Organic Project.
The group wants to develop an "add-on" label to signify higher standards than the USDA certified organic label.
According to an email letter addressed to "Friend of Organic," the group objects to USDA decisions allowing milk from cattle fed in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to be labeled certified organic, as well as the Trump administration's decisions to withdraw the animal standards regulation, limit the agenda of the National Organic Standards Board, and allow aquaponic, hydroponic and aeroponic products to be certified organic.
The new label will "differentiate it from the CAFOs, HYDROs, and import cheaters that are currently USDA certified," the letter said.
In its appeal for people to join the group, Dave Chapman, a Vermont farmer who serves on the policy committee, noted that the group has established its own standards board "based on the model of the NOSB, but with much greater representation from the organic community."
The 15-member board includes five former NOSB members, and will meet in March to set the first standards and start a pilot project certifying a small number of farms.