Dear Dave Chapman,

I am writing to explain why I will not be coming to Jacksonville to join the great effort to “Keep the Soil in Organic!”

Instead of traveling to Florida, I will be traveling first to Baltimore in September for the General Assembly of IFOAM NA, and then in November to New Delhi, India for the Organic World Congress and the General Assembly of IFOAM, Organics International.

I believe that our two efforts are complementary. It is urgent to try to keep the USDA organic label’s integrity, but it is also urgent to have a Plan B that is grounded in the full meaning of organic and contributes to maintaining and expanding family-scale farms as well as to the greater movement to transform our world.

As the NOFA representative to IFOAM NA, I have contributed to a Strategic Plan that will place top priority on spreading and deepening understanding of the Principles of Organic Agriculture and of Organic 3.0 in the US and Canada.

THE PRINCIPLE OF HEALTH

Organic Agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible.

THE PRINCIPLE OF ECOLOGY

Organic Agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them.

THE PRINCIPLE OF FAIRNESS

Organic Agriculture should build on relationships
that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment
and life opportunities.

THE PRINCIPLE OF CARE

Organic Agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.

At the Organic World Congress, I will be speaking on community supported agriculture around the world, introducing and moderating a day-long workshop on CSA in Asia, and contributing to the Main Track on the challenges to realizing Organic 3.0 and Fairness for all.

The National Organic Program is a market-based approach to organic agriculture.  Under the conditions of globalized, industrialized capitalism, the grassroots organic movement in this country has always been swimming against the stream with the risk of being swept up by commercial success  –  or swept away.  Globally, organic farming is a way of life rather than a marketing angle, and organic farmers are allies of the peasant movements that represent the majority of food producers on the planet.

Organic 3.0 is the new stage of organic agriculture internationally, and follows 1.0 – Pioneering, and 2.0 – Legitimation and Codifying. 3.0 signifies: “Mainstreaming – organic agriculture is moving from a niche into an accepted set of solutions to the challenges of the sustainability of food and fiber production promoting organic food and farming systems as a modern and innovative approach based on organic principles. As distinct from current approach of certified organic agriculture, organic 3.0 does not enforce a set of minimum rules to achieve a final static result, but is outcome based and continuously adaptive to the local context. As a culture of continuous improvement through stakeholder driven initiatives for the transformation of farming systems towards higher levels of resilience, sustainability and systemic health, Organic 3.0 is motivated by innovation, transparency and inclusion, while remaining based on local priorities.”

We will have to be very creative in implementing this phase, though it is already underway.  There are obvious pitfalls – the domination of the market by large corporate entities, temptations to cheat, rampant unbridled greed.  And important attractions – this should be inspirational – a way to unite disparate efforts that currently compete for scarce resources and speak at cross-purposes, or do not even connect well at all.  Agroecology, urban agriculture, food sovereignty, certified organic, biodynamic, regenerative organic, domestic fair trade, soil and health – we must all come together. The struggles of farm workers and other food chain workers, of Black Lives Matter and Cosecha for justice and equity must be our struggles too if we hope to realize our dreams of a world of peace, security, health and abundance for all.

For Peace in Our Lifetimes,

Liz

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