Publications

Wet Lemon

Press Releases

Pioneer Organic Farmers to Field Test New Organic Strawberry Starts Signaling Industry-Wide Change in Production Practices

Watsonville, CA – In recognition of their vital research to improve organic strawberry farming systems, Organic Advocacy and Farm Fuel Inc. have been awarded a grant to study organic strawberry transplant (start) performance in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Funded by the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), whose mission is to foster organic farming system improvements, the study will provide data essential to facilitating the organic strawberry industry’s transition to using organic starts. Although organic starts have not been available to organic strawberry growers for a decade, Innovative Organic Nursery, LLC, based in Watsonville, CA, has stepped in to fill this gap and supply starts for the upcoming field trials. Read more...


Commentary

Requirement to Assess Pesticide Effects on Endangered Species Eliminated in Farm Bill Proposal
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Director, Organic Advocacy

With the passage yesterday of the Republican amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill, H.R. 2, in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee, Congress has launched a full-frontal attack on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the required pesticide reviews to protect endangered species. Read more...


California Court Halts State Pesticide Spray Programs
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Director, Organic Advocacy

A California court in January halted a state program that mandated pesticide spraying and other applications for invasive species at schools, organic farms, and backyards across the state. The court found that the state had inadequate environmental assessments and public disclosure of adverse effects for the pesticides used. Read more...


Toxic Chemicals in Our Soil: Time to Pull the Plug on Methyl Bromide
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

As the dramatic consequences of industrial development continue to worsen—from the five thousand mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico to Antarctica’s depleted ozone layer hole the size of North America—it is incumbent upon all industries to do their part to find solutions to global problems. Eliminating the use of the ozone-depleting chemical, methyl bromide, is one achievable solution that the U.S. government has forestalled for far too long. Read more...


What Eating Organic Food Does for the World
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

Sure, I eat organic food because I think it’s healthier for me than food grown with synthetic, toxic agrochemicals or food that’s been genetically engineered or injected with growth hormones. But equally important to me are the multiple ecosystem services and broader benefits for society that organic farming provides. Read more...


"Organic" fish standards?
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., and Cameron Harsh, M.A.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program is set to release draft standards this summer that would allow fish farmed in the open ocean to be certified organic. PCC Natural Markets, along with environmental and consumer groups around the country, believe this plan violates organic standards and should be stopped. Read more...


What?! Fish Can’t Be Organic?
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

That’s right. Neither wild fish nor farmed fish can be certified organic because no organic standards exist in the U.S. to regulate them. But that may be about to change—for the worse. Why? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently proceeding with the development of organic aquaculture regulations that could allow wild fish and ocean-based fish farms to be certified organic. Read more...


Proving Organic Is Good for You
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

You know intuitively that organic food is good for you and that it’s the healthiest choice you can make at the farmer’s market and grocery store. Your gut tells you that organic is better for you than food sprayed with synthetic toxic pesticides designed to kill insects, fungus, and weeds. It’s the absence of these dangerous chemicals in organic agriculture that consumers believe makes organic food inherently healthier—and rightly so. Read more...


The Choice is Simple: Choose Organic Apples
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

Continuous improvement is the mainstay of organic agriculture. Unlike any other system of food production or product label, “improvements” are integral to the continued success of organic. In fact, the expectation that organic production systems will continually improve is woven into the very fabric of the organic law—the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). Read more...


Got Organic Milk?
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director & Cameron Harsh

Organic production systems are widely-recognized as environmentally beneficial because they don’t allow the use of synthetic, toxic chemicals--the basis of conventional agriculture. As a process-based standard, not a product-based standard, the notable benefits of organic are intended to be derived from the production process itself rather than any nutritional quality claims per se. So, while enhanced nutrition isn’t typically the claim to fame of organic, a recently released study shows that organic systems can yield a healthier product. Read more...


Public Participation in Government Decision-Making: An Organic Tradition
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

Public participation in government decision-making is an American tradition. Its roots extend all the way back to the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946,[1] the law which codified the first requirements for public participation in government rulemaking. By providing the public an opportunity to comment on its draft documents, the government not only becomes more informed about the impacts of important policy matters on stakeholders, but it also becomes more transparent and accountable to those it serves. Read more...


Stanford Research on Organics Hits the Stats, but Misses the Point
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

“Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier than Conventional Alternatives?” Stanford University researchers attempted to answer this question in their recently released analysis of published literature on the health, nutrition and safety of organic and conventional foods. The study has definitely kicked up a lot of dust—some of which is based upon questionable number crunching, and it largely misses the point of why organically grown food is a superior choice. Read more...


New York Times' Oversized Argument: Organic Can't Be Stuffed Inside a Big Food Box
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D., Senior Organic Policy Director, Center for Food Safety

There is no disputing the claim that organic has become “a wildly lucrative business for Big Food,” as discussed at length in the recent New York Times article: “Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?” But what reporter Stephanie Storm has noticeably omitted in her oversized argument is the fact that “organic” is so much more than just the organic processed food industry she chastises. Read more...


Organic is healthier and, if done right, less expensive
Liana Hoodes, B.A.

The recent syndicated column attacking the value of organics has two big problems. First, it is suspiciously similar to a national effort by chemical companies to discredit organic. Second, and more important, organic food is better for your health, and organic agriculture is better for the environment. Which isn't to say that local isn't important, too. Read more...

Fact Sheet

What’s in a Label? Natural: Another Name For Conventionally Grown
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D.

Some nationally recognized organic food companies that have built their reputation in the organicindustry are now selling new lines of natural (not organic) products, misleading consumers about healthy food choices. Read more...

Reports

Like Water and Oil: Ocean-Based Fish Farming and Organic Don't Mix
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. and Cameron Harsh, M.A.

Organic production systems, whether marine or terrestrial, must adhere to the principles of organic. This includes supporting biodiversity and biological cycles within the system, prohibiting dangerous inputs and outputs, and providing nutritious and species-suitable organic feed. Regardless of size, they must also facilitate the natural behaviors of farmed species, minimize negative environmental impacts, and prevent escapes into waterways. Like Water and Oil demonstrates that ocean-based aquaculture facilities cannot meet these minimum requirements and, therefore, can never be considered organic. Read more...


USDA Stalls Regulations to Improve Organic Poultry Living Conditions
Paige M. Tomaselli, Esq. and Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D.

Strong animal welfare practices are critical to the success of the National Organic Program. Yet, no regulations exist to ensure that all organic poultry producers follow the same procedures. USDA has delayed promulgating regulations, warning that welfare improvements would force a shut-down of the largest organic poultry producers. USDA Stalls Regulations to Improve Organic Poultry Living Conditions debunks this claim by the uncovering faulty economic assessments used to justify allowing large producers to hold hostage the entire organic poultry industry. Read More...


National Organic Action Plan From the Margins to the Mainstream: Advancing Organic Agriculture in the U.S.
Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. and Liana Hoodes, B.A. et al. (Eds.)

The National Organic Action Plan (NOAP) is the outgrowth of a five year stakeholder project, co-led by Liana Hoodes in collaboration with the Rural Advancement Fund-USA. Lisa J. Bunin, Ph.D. was a lead author of the final report. It represents the culmination of meetings across the country that engaged diverse stakeholders in envisioning the future of organic and in building strategies for realizing a collective vision. The report calls for the creation of an expanded organic policy agenda for the next decade and beyond that reflects the broad social, environmental, and health values of the organic movement and the associated benefits that organic food systems afford society. The goal of the NOAP Project is to work towards establishing organic as the foundation for food and agricultural production systems across the United States. Read more..