Press Conference to Celebrate 25 Years of Certified Organic Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2015

CONTACT:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, policy@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

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 lauren@oeffa.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.

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About OEFFA
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.