In this Issue
A Year of Farming With The Wild
Together we accomplished a lot in 2019 and as the year is coming to a close, we are looking to the future. Read more in our 2019 Impact Report.
Along with partners like you, we are building a better agriculture for the farming community as a whole, for individual farmers who benefit from our avian allies and climate smart practices and policies, and for consumers who rely on functioning landscapes that provide healthy food and beauty for our souls.
If you haven't already made a year-end donation to WFA, right now is a great time to make a gift and a big impact.
Thank you so much for your support, we are excited to reach more farmers and advance a wild and resilient farm movement in 2020.
We wish you all a happy, healthy, and wild new year!
Biodiversity Training for Inspectors and Certifiers
We partnered for the second year with the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) to hold two organic biodiversity trainings in California. Along with IOIA this year, we collaborated with California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). CCOF is working hard to ensure their inspectors are knowledgeable and ready to help organic farmers meet the NOP standards for biodiversity conservation.
During our day and a half training, a dozen organic inspectors and reviewers, and CA Dept. of Agriculture’s new Biodiversity staff person visited five biodiverse organic farms and learned how to verify what they saw. IOIA also recorded footage of the trainings and is creating a video for future inspector trainings.
Biodiversity and Agriculture: Nature's Matrix and the Future of Conservation
Written by: Angus Wright, Ivette Perfecto and John Vandermeer and published in FoodFirst's December 2019 Backgrounder Issue.
When we were children, a long auto trip would require a stop every hour or so to clean the windshield of the insects that had been intercepted. Today's windshields are spared this indignity - a convenience for motorists by a terrifying signpost of danger for the well being of the planet and humanity. It would be difficult to exaggerate the current peril we face as we push forward into what is now understood as the beginning of a new mass extinction. Yet efforts to curb this potential catastrophe are hindered by limited understanding of the relevant sciences, both natural and social. And a keystone issue is agriculture, both as partial cause of the crisis, and potential contributor to its solution. This is understood technically, but restricted limits of debate continue to force a restricted set of proposed solutions.
In this Backgrounder, Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright instead provide a clearer picture of the alternative we need. Their analysis is rooted in research as well as in the experiences of organizations, researchers, and farmers on the ground who are promoting agroecological approaches to agriculture which promote complex landscapes that support biodiversity.
Does a Loophole in Organic Standards Encourage Deforestation?
Article published in Civil Eats (December 16, 2019) written by Lisa Held
Many shoppers have heard about the high environmental costs of palm oil. Take, for example, the fact that much of Indonesia’s lush rainforests have been cleared to plant palm fruit trees, causing a steep spike in carbon emissions and destroying habitats that were home to endangered species such as the orangutan. But many consumers also likely assume that buying products made with organic palm oil eliminates those costs.
And yet, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal doesn’t guarantee that rainforests were not destroyed in order to produce palm oil—or any other raw ingredient. That’s because of a loophole in the USDA organic standards.
“You can look on a lot of organic [food] packaging and see that palm oil is used, and we as consumers have no idea [whether its production involved deforestation],” said Jo Ann Baumgartner, executive director of the Wild Farm Alliance.