NSAC's Blog

Towards a National Organic Action Plan

January 30, 2009

Come to the Summit
Make Organic History!

Five years of grassroots dialogue to shape a National Organic Action Plan (NOAP) for the U.S. will culminate in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 25th and 26th when farmers and organic activists gather for the NOAP Summit. Summit participants will prioritize the many objectives that emerged from the 11 listening sessions held all across the country and discuss how best to shape an action plan for organic agriculture that preserves organic integrity and maintains farmer and customer confidence.

Organic agriculture offers concrete solutions to many of our societal, environmental and rural development challenges.  Organic practices contribute a long list of positive attributes:  mitigation of global climate change; improved soil, animal and human health; improved quality of life; water quality and rural economic development just to name a few.  These multiple benefits are clearly not lost on the European Union which not only has an Organic Action Plan but is also working to incorporate a broad range of objectives for organic agriculture relating to climate change, rural development, and public health into the Common Agricultural Policy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Government has completely failed to provide a coherent vision to guide the fast growing organic sector beyond purely retail or market based considerations.   The administration of our National Organic Program has been characterized by a lack of consistent oversight, compliance and enforcement and an utter failure to recognize the multiple benefits of organic beyond its place as a niche market.   The NOAP Summit will establish objectives and benchmarks for achieving the full promise of organic agriculture in the areas of health, environment, social and cultural change, research, organic integrity and other categories.

Five major goals emerged during the dialogue sessions and will frame the Summit agenda:

  • To ensure organic integrity and continued organic quality improvements.
  • To ensure a fair marketplace for U.S. family farmers and workers.
  • To ensure access to healthy organic food for all U.S. income levels.
  • To maximize U.S. organic production potential to ensure an increasing U.S. produced share of the U.S. organic marketplace and ensure that each state maximizes its potential to meet in-state organic demand.
  • To move U.S. organic food and agricultural policy from its focus on the marketplace to encompass significant goals associated with the public good, including social change, public health, and environmental protection.

Post Summit, organizers will continue to engage the grass roots to achieve local, state, and regional policy goals and engage coalition partners and allies around federal policy goals and the next federal Farm Bill.  The Summit will reconvene periodically to revaluate goals and benchmarks in the National Organic Action Plan

Download a copy of the National Organic Action Plan Summit Discussion Paper  and get registration information here.

Categories: General Interest

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