For Immediate Release: March 1, 2016
Columbus, OH—In response to legislation introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), which would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote biotechnology and prevent the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu released the following statement:
“The legislation introduced by Senator Roberts and passed by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee today ignores the growing demand from the majority of U.S. citizens to have clear and honest food labeling. Everyone deserves the very basic right of knowing what ingredients are in their food and how that food was produced; that information should not be withheld from the public. Food derived from genetic engineering should be required to be labeled. Enshrining voluntary labeling in this legislation is reiteration of decades of failed policy.
This legislation would call for the USDA to promote the benefits of agricultural biotechnology. It is not the role of the USDA to advance one form of agriculture above another. Organic agriculture offers benefits to the environment, public health, and local food economies and yet it cannot be advanced above other forms of agriculture by USDA. This bill would create an uneven playing field during a time when public demand for organic and sustainably grown food is at an all-time high. Senators have an opportunity to listen to their constituents and provide them with the food information and choices they want. We hope they soundly reject the Roberts bill and join with the 64 other countries of the world that require mandatory labeling of GE food.”
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has been working to build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, meets the growing consumer demand for local food, creates economic opportunities for our rural communities, and safeguards the environment since 1979. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
Jim Croghan of Croghan’s Organic Farm in Clinton County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Steve Sears and Sylvia Upp of Pike County received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.
The announcements were made on Saturday, February 13 as part of OEFFA’s 37th annual conference, Growing Right by Nature.
2016 Stewardship Award Winner—Jim Croghan
A pioneer in the organic movement, Jim Croghan (pictured left) was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farmers. At Croghan’s Organic Farm, Jim and his wife Joyce produced organic corn, beans, spelt, hay, and other grains for domestic and international markets. He retired in 2009 after more than three decades of farming, but continues to garden and maintain an orchard.
His quiet, behind-the-scenes leadership within OEFFA led to the creation of what is today the organization’s Grain Growers Chapter, which remains very active. Before the National Organic Program was established—which set federal standards for organic certification—Jim also served on OEFFA’s board and certification committee, including a term as chairman, helping to shape OEFFA’s organic standards.
2016 Service Award Winner—Steve Sears and Sylvia Upp
Sylvia Upp operated the OEFFA Certification program from 1991 until 2007, joined by her husband Steve Sears in 2003. Together, they managed the complex and challenging transition from the standards and processes developed by OEFFA’s grassroots certification program to federal oversight once the National Organic Program became effective in 2002. Their home and farm in West Salem, Ohio served as the headquarters for OEFFA’s Certification program, until it moved to a Columbus office in 2007.
According to 2015 Service Award winner John Sowder, who served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2015, “Sylvia was admired and respected for her dedication, her organizational skills, and her attention to detail. She was our leader as the program grew and we knew she was the right person for this position. I feel that OEFFA is where we are today because of the Certification program and Sylvia built that foundation.”
Prior to his certification role, Steve served on OEFFA’s board for many years, during a time when the organization was largely volunteer-run. John reflects, “He had a gentle disposition and good sense of humor with a keen eye for getting to the heart of a matter.” During this time, Steve also operated a business called Ohio Farm Direct, one of the state’s first wholesale distribution services that delivered products from farms to consumers.
“Jim, Steve, and Sylvia showed an unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture and OEFFA during an important time in our history. These awards are a small way that we, as a community, can recognize their contributions and express our gratitude for their work, from which we all have benefited,” said Goland.
For a full list of past Stewardship and Service Award winners, click here.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org
For Immediate Release: January 14, 2016
Ikerd received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri and spent 30 years in various professorial positions at North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri. From 1989 to 2000, under a cooperative agreement with the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, he provided state and national leadership for research and education programs related to sustainable agriculture.
Ikerd has authored six books on sustainable agriculture and sustainable economics, along with book chapters, journal articles, and other publications. In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations asked Ikerd to develop the North American report for the International Year of the Family Farm.
“Everywhere we look, we can see the failure of the grand experiment of industrial agriculture. It’s time for fundamental change,” Ikerd writes.
For Immediate Release: January 7, 2016
How land, equipment, and knowledge is passed on to the next generation will impact the U.S. farm economy, according to farmer and National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) Executive Director Lindsey Lusher Shute, featured keynote speaker at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 37th annual conference, Growing Right by Nature, this February in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).
In her Saturday, February 13 keynote address, “Building Our Collective Strength: An Agenda for the Next Generation,” Shute will discuss the structural obstacles getting in the way of this transition and the opportunities to strengthen family farms through policy change.
“Today’s young farmers and ranchers are…taking tremendous personal and financial risks to feed the country and build a healthy food system,” Shute wrote for whitehouse.gov, where she was named a Future of American Agriculture Champion of Change. We must shape “a country where young people who are willing to work hard, get trained, and be entrepreneurial can support themselves and their families in farming.”
She and her husband, Benjamin, own and manage Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 70 acre farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley. They grow about 25 acres of certified organic vegetables and care for a flock of laying hens and a dozen pigs, which are marketed through a 900 member community support agriculture program.
In a 2013 Tedx Talk, Shute pointed out that there are 28 million fewer farmers in the U.S. than in 1920, and the country has grown by 200 million people.
“If we are going to rebuild American agriculture, provide a pathway of opportunity for people of modest means to become farmers in the United States, and for us all to feel and experience the benefits of all these farmers caring for the land will bring, then we need… to invest in the next generations of farmers,” said Shute, who, as Executive Director and co-founder of NYFC, represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success.
On Friday, February 12, Shute will facilitate a full-day, in-depth pre-conference event designed for beginning farmers, titled “Answering the Call to Farm.”
On Saturday morning, Shute will also lead a one hour workshop, “Is DC Helping Sustainable Farmers? What’s Happening in Congress That’s Affecting You.”
“We’re excited to welcome Lindsey to this year’s conference, so we can shine a spotlight on the resources, tools, and support these young farmers need to succeed, along with the policy changes that the future of farming requires,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
Shute will speak as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the country.
In addition to Shute, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker John Ikerd on Sunday, February 14; more than 90 educational workshops; three in-depth pre-conference workshops on Friday, February 12; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and from-scratch meals, a raffle, book sales and signings, a seed swap, and Saturday evening entertainment.
For more information about the conference, or to register, click here.
John Ikerd is one of the nation’s leading experts and speakers on agricultural economics and a well-known, passionate, and insightful sustainable agriculture advocate and speaker. He is the author of six books including Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense, Small Farms are Real Farms: Sustaining People Through Agriculture, and The Essentials of Economic Sustainability—along with book chapters, journal articles, magazine and trade publications, and conference proceedings on various aspects of the sustainable agriculture movement. Read more.
The conference will also feature three full-day pre-conference intensives on Friday, February 12 in Granville.
Dickinson Wright PLLC | Granville Village Schools | Greenacres Foundation | Jorgensen Farms | Mustard Seed Market and Café | Natural Awakenings Central Ohio, Cincinnati, and Toledo | Organic Valley | Snowville Creamery
Albert Lea Seed Co. | Earth Tools | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Lucky Cat Bakery | Metro Cuisine | Ohio Hills Biochar | Raisin Rack Natural Food Market | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | Swainway Urban Farm | Whole Foods Market
Ag Credit ACA | Andelain Fields | C-TEC of Licking County | Casa Nueva | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Edible Ohio Valley | Hocking College Culinary Arts Program, McClenaghan School of Hospitality | Kevin Morgan Studio | Law Office of David G. Cox | Ohio Environmental Council | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
Bad Dog Acres | Bexley Natural Market | Carriage House Farm | Fedco Seeds | Glass Rooster Cannery | Hartzler Dairy Farm | The Hills Market | Krazy Kraut | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Palamedes Photography | Schmidt Family Farms | Storehouse Tea | Stutzman Farms
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2015
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, email@example.com
What: The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is holding a virtual press conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on November 28, 1990.
A moderated panel of expert speakers will provide statements about the history of the organic movement and standards and the growth of the organic sector. A question and answer session will follow to allow members of the media the opportunity to explore the issues further.
Prior to OFPA, there were no consistent standards or regulations to define organic agriculture. The first certification programs were developed by states and agencies resulting in a patchwork of standards. A grassroots movement grew to develop a national organic standard to help facilitate interstate marketing, which eventually resulted in the passage of OFPA and the creation of the National Organic Program, which established federal regulations defining uniform standards for organic farming practices and labeling and a third-party verification process to ensure compliance, uniformity, and transparency. After years of work and public involvement, final rules were written and implemented in 2002.
Today, there are more than 730 certified organic operations in Ohio and nearly 19,500 in the U.S. Consumer demand for organic food and fiber continues to grow. Organic food sales have increased by an average of 10 percent per year since 2010 and sales of organic products soared to $39.1 billion in 2014.
When: Monday, November 30, 10 am ET
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and the name of the outlet you represent.
Where: Members of the media can join this virtual press conference by phone from the convenience of their home or office. Call (712) 432-0390 and then enter access code: 805354.
Who: Carol Goland, OEFFA Executive Director and event moderator—OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country. OEFFA certified to state standards prior to OFPA and worked toward the development of a national program.
Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition Advisor—Liana is the Co-Chair of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, former director of the National Organic Coalition, and previous Organic Policy Coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture.
Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, George Washington University—From 2009-2013, Dr. Merrigan was U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she created and led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems. She previously worked as senior staff to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food.
Mike Laughlin, certified organic specialty crop farmer—Northridge Organic Farm in Johnstown, Ohio was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farms under the federal standards.
Abby Youngblood, National Organic Coalition Executive Director—Abby previously served as the Food and Environment Program Officer at the North Star Fund, co-owned and operated a vegetable farm in New York, and advocated for a strong organic standard in 2001.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. OEFFA operates one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country, and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses, and those looking to transition to organic. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, email@example.com
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbus, OH—A government survey of U.S. organic farms shows Ohio’s growth in organic sales follow the national trend, and while the number of organic farms in Ohio fell slightly over the past five years, Ohio farmland in organic production has increased by more than 10,000 acres since 2008.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (USDA NASS) released results from the 2014 Organic Production Survey this week, revealing a 72 percent increase in organic sales since 2008, as well as a slight decrease in the number of organic farmers and total organic acreage in the U.S.
“While the decrease in the number of organic farms nationally and in Ohio is a concern, Ohio remains in the top 10 of states in the number of organic farms in operation,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) Policy Program Coordinator.
More than 40 percent of Ohio organic farmers earn between 75 and 100 percent of their income from organic farming. “The data show that organic farming provides a full time occupation for many farmers and there is a future in organic production as demand outpaces supply for organic food in the U.S.,” said Lipstreu.
These results also show a strong commitment to the organic market as more than 40 percent of Ohio’s organic farmers plan to increase organic production. In 2015, OEFFA has also seen an increase in the number of farmers seeking certification for the first time.
While 78 percent of organic sales are to wholesale markets, the first point of sale for 80 percent of all U.S. organic products was less than 500 miles from the farm. “The growth of local and regional food systems as well as access to large wholesale markets provide huge growth opportunities for organic farmers,” said Lipstreu.
This study represents the second comprehensive survey of organic agriculture in the U.S. “The ability to have trend data and analysis of organic agriculture in Ohio and the U.S. provides information critical to the organic industry and the farming community,” said Lipstreu. “Continuing to collect and analyze this information will help current producers as well as those considering a transition to organic agriculture understand the growing demand, price premiums, and production challenges.”
OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country, and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses, and those looking to transition to organic. For more information, click here.
The complete report can be accessed at the USDA Census of Agriculture website.
July 14, 2015
Fresh, local, summer ingredients from northeast Ohio will be the inspiration for a unique farm to table culinary experience this August that celebrates Ohio farms and flavors.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is partnering with Maplestar Farm and The Driftwood Group for The Farmers’ Table on Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m. The event will take place in western Geauga County at Maplestar Farm in Auburn Township.
“OEFFA’s mission is to help farmers and consumers reconnect and together build a sustainable food system, one meal at time,” said OEFFA Program Associate Milo Petruziello, who is organizing the event. “This dinner is a natural extension of that work, designed to showcase the amazing farmers and chefs of northeast Ohio and the fresh, seasonal ingredients of Ohio’s farms. It also gives us all a chance to celebrate our farmers, our food, and the local flavors which will be thoughtfully woven into every aspect of this event.”
Guests will take a guided tour of Maplestar Farm’s organic fields, sample carefully crafted hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy beer, wine, and tea before sitting down to an exciting four course meal prepared by Erik Martinez, Executive Chef at Cibréo Italian Kitchen, featuring wine pairings.
The event will also feature special guest Alan Guebert, award-winning syndicated agricultural journalist and OEFFA 2015 conference keynote speaker, who will offer a hearty toast to local food. Following the dinner, he’ll be signing his new book, The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey, and sharing stories. The book was recently included on Bon Appetit Magazine‘s 20 Food Books to Read This Summer, LA Magazine‘s Top 10 Summer Books for Foodies, and Food Tank’s Summer Reading List.
The Tretheweys have been certified organic for seven years and sell their organic produce at the farm’s roadside stand, at the Geauga Fresh Farmers’ Market, through a small community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and to restaurants.
The dinner will be rooted in certified organic vegetables from Maplestar Farm, and include an heirloom tomato salad, a modern take on a traditional fish fry featuring fresh Lake Erie perch, and a main course pork trio showcasing a pastured Berkshire/Chester White cross hog from Tea Hills Farms. Dessert will feature an Auburn sweet corn custard tart.
“We have a great relationship with Maplestar Farms. What’s important to the farm is important to us, and OEFFA and this event are very important to Jake and Dawn. This is a way we can help the farm bring OEFFA and a farm to table experience to their backyard and show all of Ohio what Geauga County and northeast Ohio have to offer,” said Chris Johnson, Corporate Chef for The Driftwood Group, one of Ohio’s premier restaurant and catering companies.
Erik Martinez is the Executive Chef of downtown Cleveland’s Cibreo Italian Kitchen, which is part of The Driftwood Group, and will be overseeing the dinner. He has been a part of Cleveland’s culinary landscape for more than 20 years.
Tickets are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of 8. All proceeds support OEFFA’s work to grow Ohio’s sustainable and organic agriculture movement.
The Farmers’ Table is sponsored by The Driftwood Group, Maplestar Farm, Edible Cleveland, Kevin Morgan Studio, Organic Valley, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Storehouse Tea, and Tea Hills Farms.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization working to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. OEFFA operates one of the country’s largest and most respected USDA-accredited organic certification agencies. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, email@example.com
Kate Blake, Certification Program Manager, (614) 262-2022 Ext. 223, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, email@example.com
Columbus, OH—While a growing number of consumers are seeking foods made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), they may be getting less than they think from non-GMO labeled products.
According to Michelle Ajamian, owner of Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, “Non-GMO labels don’t guarantee crops are grown without chemicals. In fact, unless the food is certified organic, it may be grown with even more chemicals than GMO crops.”
To help consumers find food that is both non-GMO and environmentally friendly, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has released a new label that OEFFA-certified organic farmers and processors can use on their products, in addition to the standard USDA organic seal. This label reminds consumers that choosing organic foods allows them to avoid GMOs and protect public health and the environment.
To use the organic label, foods must not only be non-GMO but they must also be grown without synthetic pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers.
“Shagbark Seed & Mill chose organic certification over non-GMO verification to support the farmers that go beyond non-GMO by working with nature, instead of against it. That means cover crops, crop rotations, and healthy soil. That means no GMO seed, ever. The result is a product we’re confident will protect water and soil resources and feed us the best quality food on all fronts,” stated Ajamian, whose certified organic mill sells beans, flour, pasta, chips, and other products.
Organic farmers undergo a rigorous annual third party verification process that includes an organic system plan, multiple reviews of that plan, and an inspection of the farm.
“As a result, the organic seal is the gold standard in ecological labeling and consumers can have confidence that farmers are adhering to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program,” said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu. “Regardless of which version of the organic label a farmer or processor chooses, the organic seal guarantees that the product was made without GMOs. Organic is also the clear choice for shoppers who are concerned about the health and sustainability of their food.”