The Organic Center has firmly established itself as a respected voice on the latest science about organic food and farming. As the credible authority for thought leaders and the media, the Center is committed to developing a deeper understanding of the research behind the benefits of organic and sharing actionable information with the public. We regularly publish leading-edge studies, contribute scientific background to books and journals, and respond to articles misrepresenting organic. Here’s a small taste of what we’ve been up to…
The New York Times publishes the Center’s Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor was just published in the International Edition of The New York Times, written by The Organic Center’s Director of Science Programs Dr. Jessica Shade. The letter references a recently published article, “A Dangerous Cycle in Food Production” by Beth Gardiner, noting that while the author accurately addresses the threats that large-scale industrial agriculture is imposing on pollinators, she failed to take the discussion full circle to agricultural practices—such as organic—already known to benefit pollinators. Citing The Organic Center report detailing organic best practices, our response explains that pollinator-friendly techniques used on organic farms are available to any farmer, and could easily be incorporated into conventional farming systems to reduce the negative impacts of our agricultural system on pollinators. It also points out that beyond the farm, consumers can also take action by supporting organic farming and its bee-friendly practices.
Forbes Highlights the Center’s Response to an Article on Yields
The Organic Center wrote a rebuttal to an article recently posted by Dr. Steven Savage analyzing USDA agricultural survey and census data. The Center’s response was highlighted as a noteworthy comment by Forbes editors. Although Dr. Savage looks at the yield gap between conventional and organic production, he fails to take a deeper look at the historical context behind his results and consider solutions that could increase the land-use efficiency of organic agriculture while simultaneously benefiting the health of people and the environment. Dr. Savage’s fatalistic viewpoint that the United States agricultural system is static suggests that the negative consequences of high-input, large-scale conventional agriculture are unavoidable, and should simply be accepted. This perspective overlooks the innovation that is innate in organic practices, and the multiple benefits that could be achieved through increased organic research—for higher yields as well as improved sustainability and health.
Federal Advisory Board Recognizes the Center’s Organic Research Priorities
At this year’s National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) fall meeting, The Organic Center was recognized as exemplifying the effective implementation of its research priority topics. NOSB member Jennifer Taylor highlighted The Center’s work, saying the process that The Organic Center follows and the way it uses the recommendation are a model of what NOSB intended and envisions. “It was a proud moment during the meeting to hear a Board member literally read almost the entirety of The Center’s comments into the public record. This doesn’t happen very often,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, Senior Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs at the Organic Trade Association. The Organic Center is pleased to be held up as an example of driving forward progress in such a critical environment as NOSB meetings.
Best-selling Authors Rely on the Center for Scientific Contributions to New Book
The Organic Center contributed information for the recently published book World Hunger: 10 Myths, written by best-selling authors Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins. The book argues that sustainable agriculture can feed the world, busting myths such as the claim that we have too little food, that there are too many people, that climate change makes hunger inevitable, that only industrial agriculture and GMOs can feed the world, that organic farming can’t feed the world, and many more. While you’re reading through this engaging, captivating book, make sure to flip to the Acknowledgements section, where you’ll see The Organic Center’s Science Project Specialist Dr. Tracy Misiewicz listed for her scientific contributions to the authors.
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