In response to the lack of enforcement of some vital USDA Organic standards to protect soil health and animal welfare, organic farmers rallied together to fight to protect the integrity of the organic label. The lobbying efforts of Big Ag ultimately won, allowing the input-dependent confined animal operations and hydroponic industries to bend the rules for their own benefit. Family farmers meeting the letter and spirit of organic law are suffering while consumers are once again in need of transparency in the market place. Watch the Real Organic Project Video.
Know Your Farmer Videos
In the summer of 2018, we inspected and certified over 50 farms according to the Real Organic Project standards. Each of these family farms has demonstrated their commitment to growing food in living soils and raising their animals on pasture. Please watch and share their videos below!
Know Your Farmer – Spiral Path Farm, Pennsylvania
Mike Brownback grows organic produce on 300 acres near Harrisburg, PA with his wife Terra and sons Lucas and Will, relying on trusted soil building techniques for over 30 years. He is passionate about not allowing hydroponic fruits and vegetables to use the USDA Organic label and is shocked that our government has enabled the United States to become the hydroponic “dumping ground for the world.” Although many hydroponic vegetables are grown in Europe, Mexico, and Canada, they are forbidden to be labeled organic in the countries where they’re grown! Watch the Spiral Path Farm Video.
Know Your Farmer – Ela Family Farms, Colorado
Steve Ela of Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss, CO shares how he manages his organic perennial fruit orchard with a holistic eye. Grateful for the long view that a multi-year crop like trees gives the grower, Steve and family implement highly sophisticated low-impact practices that “benefit the commons” rather than polluting. Steve shares his secrets to naturally controlling the infamous apple codling moth and green peach aphids – pests that result in the massive use of harmful pesticides in conventional fruit production. In the 1950s, Steve’s grandfather was one of the first to plant cover crops for fertility in a fruit orchard. Watch the Ela Family Farms Video.
Know Your Farmer – The Milkhouse, Maine
The Milkhouse Dairy Farm and Creamery in Maine milks a small herd of 30-35 rotationally grazed cows. Due to their desire to sell their milk and yogurt to local consumers and processors in their community, they’ve recently been notified that their contract with Horizon Organics will be terminated. Listen as farmers Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith tell their story and share a glimpse of life on their farm.Watch the Milkhouse Video.
Know Your Farmer – Full Belly Farm, California
Full Belly Farm grows over 80 different organic crops on 400 acres of land in northern California. With a sharp focus on biodiversity, the farm plants large swaths for pollinators and produces their own fertility on-site by cover cropping. Multiple generations share ownership and manage year-round labor on the farm. Listen as Paul Muller explains how the fundamental wisdom of organic lies in soil health.Watch the Full Belly Farm Video.
Know Your Farmer – Roxbury Farm, New York
Jean-Paul Courtens of Roxbury farm integrates grazing systems and multi-species cover cropping into his organic vegetable production to increase soil biological activity and minimize the use of off-farm inputs. He is optimistic about our future in the face of climate change. The increase in carbon sequestration on his own land due to his production practices are evidence that “the soil is going to save us.” Watch the Roxbury Farm Video.
Know Your Farmer – Radiance Dairy, Iowa
Francis Thicke is a former National Organic Standards Board member and USDA soil scientist. He milks 90 dairy cows, processing his milk and yogurt on the farm and selling it all locally. Learn how rich prairie soils can be built through proper management of rotational grazing. Watch the Radiance Dairy Video.
Helen Kees, born and raised on the same family farm she works on today with her grandson in Wisconsin, discusses her relationship with the land and how small farms keep dollars circulating in the local economy. Watch the Wheatfield Hill Organics Video.
Know Your Farmer – Three Springs Farm, Oklahoma
Emily Oakley and Mike Appel discuss their choice to grow as much of their own fertility as possible on their farm, in an effort to reduce using the non-sustainable resources that remain acceptable in the organic standards. Watch the Three Springs Farm Video.