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October 7, 2014
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Holli Cederholm,  207. 809. 7530
press@osgata.org,  www.osgata.org

OSGATA Sending President to Testify at Important NOSB Meeting in Louisville


Integrity of Organic Agriculture Demands Advocacy and Attendance

Washington, ME - Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) will again be sending a representative to a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to be held in Louisville, KY. OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen, a Maine organic seed farmer, will testify about the critical need to maintain integrity in the organic industry.

 

In a related move, OSGATA has re-instituted its Farmer Travel Fund in order to enable continued attendance at opportunities, such as this NOSB meeting, critical to defending the interests of the authentic organic community. The Farmer Travel Fund previously was used to provide travel reimbursement to plaintiff-farmers from across North America bearing witness to legal proceedings in the landmark OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit.  The Farmer Travel Fund is now in immediate need of contributions to ensure that OSGATA will be able to continue to advocate for honesty and transparency in organic production and marketing.

 

Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is the farmer-led membership trade organization which develops, protects, and promotes the organic seed trade and its farmers, and assures the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of genetically engineered (GE) contaminants, and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.

 

The National Organic Standards Board was established by Congress as the official liaison between the organic community and organic industry regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many organic stakeholders feel the single greatest responsibility of the NOSB is to safeguard the integrity of the organic food.

 

"Outside corporate entry into the organic community represents an increasing challenge to maintain high standards of honesty and credibility when it comes to organic food," said OSGATA president, Jim Gerritsen, a Maine organic seed farmer for the last 38 years.  "OSGATA will continue to advocate for the interests of hard-working organic family farmers and organic consumers."

OSGATA President and organic seed farmer, Jim Gerritsen.

 

This Fall's NOSB Meeting, to be held on October 28-30, in Louisville, KY, is one of many of the NOSB's bi-annual meetings in which OSGATA representatives have testified. In-person advocacy- such as at NOSB meetings- is the type of activity OSGATA will support through its Farmer Travel Fund. Matters critical to the future of the organic community are on the Louisville agenda.

 

This month OSGATA will also be sending a voting delegate to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) World Congress which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. Here OSGATA will be advocating for its policy submission aimed at heightening organic seed integrity. 

 

OSGATA's dedication to influencing world organic concepts which pertain to organic seed and integrity issues is consistent with its overarching mission to nurture the organic seed trade and the organic community. To this same end, earlier this year OSGATA published its landmark peer-reviewed handbook, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: The Organic Farmers Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing. A hard copy of the book is available for order online for a nominal fee. In addition, a free digital download is available to everyone on the OSGATA website.

 

The re-launching of the Farmer Travel Fund will enable OSGATA farmers and personnel to attend key organic industry events where they will continue OSGATA's advocacy for strong organic integrity and independence from corporate control. Important developments underway require face-to-face advocacy which supports traditional organic principles and elevates the imperfectly represented perspectives of organic consumers and organic family farmers. Donations to the Farmer Travel Fund are urgently needed to assure that OSGATA is able to keep fighting to protect the best interests of the organic community. Concerned citizens are asked to donate generously to the fund at this time.

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Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association 

 

OSGATA is a farmer-controlled national non-profit membership trade organization of certified organic farmers, certified organic seed companies, organic seed professionals, affiliate organizations and individuals dedicated to the advancement of certified organic seed. OSGATA is committed to protecting, promoting and developing the organic seed trade and its growers, thereby assuring that the organic community has access to excellent quality certified organic seed, free of genetic contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. 

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