Washington, ME, October 22, 2015 -
Next week Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
(OSGATA)− the farmer-led membership trade organization which develops, protects, and promotes the organic seed trade and its farmers− is sending a representative to attend the four-day meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
(NOSB) to be held in Stowe, VT, on October 26-29. OSGATA President and Maine certified organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen will testify on behalf of OSGATA's membership about the critical need to maintain integrity in the organic industry, and more specifically in organic seed.
The NOSB was established as the official liaison between the organic community and organic industry regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Congress's adoption of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990
(OFPA). Many organic stakeholders feel the single greatest duty of the NOSB is to safeguard the integrity of organic food and provide a level playing field for organic farmers of all sizes.
"The organic community is at a cross-roads," said OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen. "USDA policy continues to favor large-scale operations and the result challenges organic integrity and creates unfair competition for family-scale organic farmers."
|Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA President.|
OSGATA has provided input to the citizen-advisory NOSB on myriad matters of organic integrity− from protecting certified organic seed and certified organic food crops from contamination by genetically engineered (GE) crops, to the role of USDA in accepting guidance from NOSB regarding challenges faced by the organic industry.
Gerritsen will also be attending the Pre-NOSB, hosted by the National Organic Coalition, on Sunday October 25. Along with Tom Stearns, of OSGATA member company High Mowing Seeds, Gerritsen has been invited to address the challenges and opportunities confronting organic seed at the meeting.
"Organic seed is the foundation of organic agriculture," said Gerritsen. "It is essential that the organic community develop independent, high-quality, and locally adapted seed for its own use. That means protecting organic seed from unwanted trespass and contamination from the biotech industry is critical and essential."