To create a vehicle for organic farmers to weigh in on national policy issues and raise the profile of U.S. certified organic farmers, Rodale Institute’s Organic Farmers Association has unified with a parallel grassroots national organic effort called the Organic Farmers Alliance.
Going forward as the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), sponsored by Rodale Institute, a farmer-majority interim steering committee has been appointed to ensure this effort is farmer-led and controlled. Elections for the first farmer-majority governing council will take place in early 2018.
“It’s time that organic farmers have a clear voice shaping the future of the organic movement they helped build,” said Jim Riddle, organic farmer from Blue Fruit Farm in Winona, Minnesota, and newly appointed chair of the OFA steering committee.
OFA says its mission is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. Its purpose is to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations.
“A lot of people say they speak for organic farmers,” said Jeff Moyer, executive director, Rodale Institute. “It’s time we had a clear, unified farmer voice on policy issues that affect our industry and businesses.”
The steering committee includes 12 voting seats for certified organic farmers and seven non-voting seats for organic farm organizations (including fiscal sponsor Rodale Institute):
• Dave Colson, New Leaf Farm (Maine)
• Jack Erisman, Goldmine Farms (Illinois)
• Phil LaRocca, LaRocca Vineyards (California)
• Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm (Maryland)
• Vice Chair Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Farm (North Dakota)
• Member Officer Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm and Ranch (Montana)
• Treasurer Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farm (California)
• Chair Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm (Minnesota)
• Will Stevens, Golden Russet Farm (Vermont)
• Isaura Andaluz, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (New Mexico)
• John Bobbe, Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (Wisconsin)
• Renee Hunt, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (Ohio)
• Secretary Maddie Monty, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (Vermont)
• Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute, Skyhollow Farm (Pennsylvania)
• Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International (North Carolina)
Four additional steering committee seats will be filled in the coming months (three farm and one organization). Organic farmers, organic farm organizations and supporters of organic farmers can join the association by visiting its website.