Tag Archives: NOP

New videos address the question, ‘Why Organic?’

Vermont Organic Farmers releases videos and brochure to convey the benefits of buying organic, and growing organically
Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) has developed a collection of outreach materials that explain and support the organic certification process, and promote organic products. The materials include a series of short videos for consumers that convey the benefits of buying organic products, a longer video that explains the certification process, and a beautifully designed brochure that addresses the reasons for farmers and processors to become certified. These materials can be used and shared by anyone interested in promoting organic agriculture.
In response to requests from certified organic producers to help increase demand for organic products in the marketplace, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) developed five consumer-focused video clips, designed for easy sharing online, to show the importance and value of organic production. Each video features one benefit, or value, of buying organic products: “No GMOs”, “Taste, “Stewardship”, “Community” and “Integrity”.  These values are articulated by organic growers in Vermont, and were filmed on-farm, providing an intimate glimpse into the world of sustainable agriculture. (All the videos can be found on the NOFA Vermont YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwGgmXsdmFP45nSGt-Bx0gbj8hRRLbwfE)
“We are really excited for consumers to get to know the growers of their food better,” said Nicole Dehne, who directs the VOF certification program. “This is a chance for folks to hear directly from the farmers about why they feel it is important to farm organically.”
VOF has also produced a longer video that demystifies the organic certification process for farmers interested in pursuing organic certification. This film will be used as mentoring support and motivation for producers who are interested in learning more about the process. Through various outreach efforts, the video will reach a broader consumer audience and  build confidence among buyers that the certification process is meaningful.  Viewers will hear directly from organic growers, why they certify their farm as organic and what that process means to them and to their market.  After watching the film, viewers will better understand the annual inspection process, the record keeping requirements, and the benefits of organic certification for their business.

As a companion to the videos, VOF has created an brochure for farmers interested in pursuing organic certification (http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NOFA-VTBrochure.pdf), which outlines five benefits of  becoming certified organic and also addresses concerns, such as the burden of record keeping and the cost of certification.

The project was funded with support from the USDA National Organic Program’s “Sound & Sensible Initiative,” a campaign that aims to make organic certification more accessible, affordable and attainable. Other resources from the campaign can be found on the USDA website: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/11/09/organic-sound-and-sensible-resources-why-go-organic-and-where-to-start/ 

 

Bio-based mulch approved for organic use (but don’t use it yet!)

Effective October 30, 2014, the NOP has added biodegradable bio-based mulch as an allowed substance for use on organic farms.  This is a great example of the NOP responding to the needs of organic farmers. Farmers and supporters, including VOF, have long been advocating for its allowed use, as benefits include reduced plastic landfill waste, reduced labor costs, and reduced removal and disposal costs.

However, desipite being “bio-based,” the mulch is still considered a synthetic, and so it had to go through a rigorous review by the National Organic Standards Board before its use could be considered acceptable on organic farms. Approved  synthetic mulches must meet strict criteria on compostability, biodegradability, and biobased content. In addition, it must be produced without organisms or feedstock derived from GMOs.

Only generic materials are added to the list of approved substances, therefore currently there is no brand name biodegradable biobased mulch approved for use.  Clarity regarding which specific products will be allowed will be forthcoming.  VOF-certified producers can only use brand name products that have been reviewed and approved for use in organic production by OMRI, WSDA or VOF.  Don’t buy any biodegradable mulch unless and until it is on one of the above “approved” lists. We will keep our farmers updated on this issue as it evolves!

Click here to read NOP Final Rule.

[by Nicole Dehne, VOF Certification Program Administrator]