(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2009) On September 24, 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of five new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), including Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman. Beyond Pesticides thanks Secretary Vilsack, as well as the individuals, farm, health and environmental organizations and members of Congress that supported his nomination.
“I believe that the environmental community must be at the NOSB table to advance the vision and core values of organic management practices, which replace unnecessary and polluting chemical-intensive farming methods that are linked to adverse health and environmental effects, including global climate change,” said Mr. Feldman. “I am honored to be named to the NOSB and will use my seat to represent the grassroots environmental community while ensuring the integrity and growth of organic practices.”
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service oversees the National Organic Program (NOP) and the NOSB. The NOSB includes four producers, two handlers, one retailer, three environmentalists, three consumers, one scientist and one certifying agent. The Board is authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for organic operations. The NOSB also may provide advice on other aspects of the organic program.
Organic agriculture embodies an ecological approach to farming that does not rely on or permit toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Instead of using these harmful products and practices, organic agriculture utilizes techniques such as cover cropping, crop rotation, and composting to produce healthy soil, prevent pest and disease problems, and grow healthy food and fiber.
Beyond Pesticides supports organic agriculture as effecting good land stewardship and a reduction in hazardous chemical exposures for workers on the farm. The pesticide reform movement, citing pesticide problems associated with chemical agriculture, from groundwater contamination and runoff to drift, views organic as the solution to a serious public health and environmental threat.
Beyond Pesticides has contributed to the crafting of laws that have advanced organic and sustainable agriculture, including the Agricultural Productivity Act and the Organic Foods Production Act, and therefore has a deep commitment to their successful implementation.
The NOSB appointees will serve terms beginning Jan. 24, 2010, and ending Jan. 24, 2015. The new appointees are: Joe Dickson, an organic retailer from Austin, TX, who is currently Certification Director of Whole Foods; Jay Feldman, an environmentalist from Washington, DC, currently Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, with nearly 30 years experience in environmental issues; John Foster, an organic handler from McMinnville, OR, who works for Earthbound Farms and also has a strong farming background and experience as an organic inspector; Wendy Fulwider, an organic farmer from Viroqua, WI, who has worked to develop animal standards for the organic industry; and Annette Riherd, an organic fruit and vegetable farmer from Oologah, OK, who is also an advocate for buy fresh/buy local and organic and direct marketing. See other NOSB members (including outgoing members).
For information on the many benefits of organic food, please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Food program page.