To help us keep our thoughts on the upcoming growing season, we’d like to call your attention to two recent online events.
Soil Regen Summit 2021
Earlier this month, the Soil Foodweb School presented the Soil Regen Summit 2021, featuring sessions on a range of topics including Soil Regeneration, Permaculture, Soil Carbon Storage, and Biomimicry. Among the impressive lineup of speakers were Gabe Brown, Ray Archuleta, and Vandana Shiva. Replays of Summit sessions may still be available. For more information, visit: soilregensummit.com.
Real Organic Project 2021 Symposium
In January, the Real Organic Project held its 2021 Symposium, featuring fifty prominent organic farmers, scientists, and climate activists. In addition to providing a wealth of information on regenerative agriculture, climate, and nutrition, the Symposium focused on the problems inherent in USDA organic certification. Currently, the USDA certifies hydroponically-grown food (food grown without soil) as organic. Many organic farmers disagree with this policy, arguing that the foundation of organic farming begins with healthy, nutrient-dense soil. They contend that hydroponics does not provide the nutritional value of crops grown in healthy soil. Moreover, by labeling hydroponically-grown food as organic, small-scale organic farmers are squeezed out of business because of the extra time and money involved in building nutrient-dense soil. Certifying hydroponic methods as organic detracts from the important work of sequestering carbon in soils.
Similar concerns exist with respect to animals raised in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Although organic rules require animals such as cows and chickens to be raised in pasture, the USDA knowingly certifies CAFO meat and dairy products as organic. CAFO animals, fed on corn and soybean mush, lack the nutritional integrity of animals raised in pasture. What’s more, CAFOs are ecological disasters, polluting water systems and spewing greenhouse gasses at extraordinary rates.
Know where your food comes from
At Victory Gardens, we encourage people to know where their food comes from. When possible, buy locally-sourced food. Get to know your farmer—how they treat their soil and what kind of farming methods they use. Ask your grocer if the produce they are selling is hydroponically grown, and if the meat and dairy products are from CAFOs. Organizations like the Real Organic Project are developing their own certification labels to better inform consumers about the organic integrity of the food they buy. For more on the Real Organic Project, visit: RealOrganicProject.org.