Update on the NOSB's Recent Vote Denying Soil as Central to Organics

T he National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted on Wednesday, November 1 st   on  whether or not hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics and container growing could be certified as organic under the USDA Organic Standards, an issue that has been widely contested by organic farmers.

Despite the fact that s oil biology is the foundation of organic growing practices, t he NOSB voted (in a close 8-7 vote) to continue to allow hydroponics and aquaponics to be labeled as certified organic. The NOSB opted not to tighten restrictions on container growing, a spin on hydroponic growing methods often used by major organic berry growers, but did vote to keep aeroponics from earning the USDA organic seal.

Although the "NOSB recommended a ban on virtually all types of soilless growing" in 2010, the USDA continued to certify hydroponic and aquaponic farms as organic over the last seven years, reported Caitlin Dewey in the Santa Fe New Mexican, leading to a growing, international movement to "Keep the Soil in Organic."

The movement of organic farmers to keep soilless growing methods out of the organic label is based on the organic standards themselves, which call
for improving the health of soil as one of the outcomes of organic farming. Albert Howard, an English botanist central to the founding of the movement wrote, "The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible."

" In summary, organic is at a crossroads," said Francis Thicke in his closing comments on November 1st.  "Either we can continue to allow industry interests to bend and dilute the organic rules to their benefit, or organic famers - working with organic consumers - can step up and take action to ensure organic integrity into the future."

NOFA-NH thanks our partners at NOFA-VT, the organizers of the "Keep the Soil in Organic" movement, and all of the farmers, organic farming advocates and consumers who attended rallies in New Hampshire, Vermont and beyond in the months leading up to the NOSB vote to lend their voice to this important issue. As an organic farming community, we will continue to work together to face the changes and challenges ahead.  To begin, please help us share these issues by posting this video.

To learn more about the outcomes of the NOSB meeting and how you can take action to protect organics, click here.

Pictured: NOFA-NH Board Members, rally speakers and supporters at the "Keep the Soil in Organic" rally in Hanover, NH.  Photo Credits: Dave Chapman & Monica Rico
Portsmouth Votes to Ban the Use of Toxic Chemicals on Municipal Land
Portsmouth's City Council passed a "Toxic Free Weed Control Resolution" this fall, voting to ban the use of "synthetic toxic pesticides" on municipal land. Organic products will instead be used in city parks and on city sidewalks. Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine brought forward the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly, with only one City Councilor voting against it.

The resolution states that, "it is in the interest of public health to eliminate the use of synthetic toxic pesticides on city-owned land, ponds and waterways," and calls on the city to develop a public outreach program encouraging private property owners to reduce and eliminate their use of synthetic toxic pesticides, too,  Jeff McMenemy reported in Seacoastonline.com .
Portsmouth has already shown a commitment to reducing chemicals in the city by eliminating the use of glyphosate-based pesticides like Roundup in 2015. The city is now using an organic "soap-based product," after performing several pilot studies on alternative ways to kill weeds.
"By this 7-1 vote in favor of the resolution," said Acting City Manager Ted Jankowski, "the City Council has chosen to be the very first non-toxic community in New Hampshire...We hope that this will help lead the way for other New Hampshire communities to join us."
The New Hampshire Legislative Process
How an Idea Becomes a Law
By Amy Manzelli, Esq.
Here is a basic overview of how an idea becomes law in New Hampshire.
1. Idea:
Someone has an idea and a lawmaker sponsors it. Ideas come from everywhere and cover everything, from shoreland protection to designating the state fruit.
2. Legislative Service Requests (LSRs):
In one sentence, lawmakers reserve bills on a specific topic. An LSR may say something like "To determine the appropriate governance of shorelands." Each year about 1,000 LSRs are reserved.
3. Written:
New ideas are typically written into bills after the LSR is reserved. Bills usually become publicly available from early winter through late winter.
4. Introduction:
After a bill is written, it is introduced in the chamber in which the sponsoring member belongs. Every bill is introduced.
5. Referred to Committee:
Once introduced, each bill will be referred to a committee of the chamber in which it's been introduced. A committee is a group of five to twenty lawmakers. The Senate has twelve and the House has about twenty-nine.
6. Public Hearing:
Each committee will hold a public hearing on each bill. Any member of the public may testify and/or provide written remarks.
7. Deliberation:
Once the public hearing is closed, the committee members discuss amongst themselves before voting on a bill, either immediately or at a later work session. Anyone may attend deliberations and work sessions, but may not speak (unless spoken to).
8. Vote:
After public hearing and deliberation, and possibly a work session, the committee votes. The committee will vote that the bill: (a) Ought to Pass; (b) Ought to Pass with Amendment; or (c) is Inexpedient to Legislate.
9. Stuck in Committee:
Committees can ask to keep a bill for further study, which could mean more study or could mean the death of the idea.
10. On to the Floor:
Every bill gets to the floor where the full chamber votes on it. The full chamber usually adopts the committee's recommendation. Occasionally, the full chamber's consideration of the bill is messy and a "floor fight" ensues.
11. Next Committee or End of the Road:
After the first chamber vote, if a bill is passed the bill will be referred to either: (a) a different committee in the same chamber; or (b) to the other chamber at cross over.
12. Repeat:
Whether a bill is referred to a committee in the same chamber, or if crossing over, the entire process from step 5 to step 11 is repeated.
13. Conference:
Sometimes, the House and Senate pass different versions of similar bills. In that case, members from the House and the Senate meet together to develop a common version of the bill.
14. Governor's Desk:
All bills that have been passed go to the Governor, who has three options: (a) sign the bill, in which case it becomes law immediately; (b) allow five days to pass without signing the bill, in which case the bill becomes law after the five days; or (c) veto the bill.
Amy Manzelli is a member attorney of Baldwin & Callen, PLLC who practices environmental and land use law and government relations, including lobbying at the New Hampshire State House and can be reached at manzelli@nhlandlaw.com or (603) 225-2585.

 Coming Soon: Ben & Jerry's Glyphosate-Free Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's plans to introduce a 100% certified organic dairy line next year after traces of glyphosate, a controversial herbicide, were found in its European ice cream.

A survey conducted by 
Health Research Institute (HRI) laboratories found traces of the weedkiller in 13 out of 14 Ben & Jerry's ice cream tubs sampled in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. (Similar levels of glyphosate have been recorded 
in US Ben & Jerry's ice cream.)

The main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, glyphosate was first introduced in the United States in 1974, and is now the world's most popular weedkiller, widely affecting agricultural streams, including ice cream.

While California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals that cause cancer, and the WHO's cancer department  deems it  "probably carcinogenic to humans," regulatory agencies continue to approve it's use, The Guardian reports.

Popular Ben & Jerry's flavors such as Peanut Butter Cup, Half Baked and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, were all found to contain between 1 and 1.23 parts per billion of glyphosate in the UK. In France, Germany and the Netherlands, the f lavors Karamel Sutra Core, Cinnamon Buns, Cookie Dough and Topped Chocolate Caramel Cookie Dough also tested positive for glyphosate.

Ben & Jerry's responded to the findings with plans to launch an organic ice cream line in 2018 that's expected to make up 6% of US sales.
You're Invited to NOFA-NH's Member Appreciation Holiday Potluck!
When?  Monday, December 11, 2017 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Where? 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH 03301

NOFA-NH invites you, our valued members, to gather and celebrate organics with us this holiday season over a delicious meal provided by our Board of Directors.
We know that the holidays get hectic fast, so please SAVE THE DATE for our Member Appreciation Holiday Potluck, and let us know that you'll attend.

Simply bring yourself, good holiday cheer, and your appetite!
We look forward to seeing you this winter!

Calling All Winter Conference Presenters!
Do you have expertise on an organic farming topic you'd like to share? We are seeking workshop proposals for our annual Winter Conference in March 2018.

Topics include: Advanced Growers, Agricultural Business, Beginning Farmers, Carbon/Soils, Gardening/Homesteading, Health/Nutrition, Livestock/Animals, Policy/Advocacy, and Social Justice.

Submit your proposal online here.

NOFA-NH's 16th annual Winter Conference will be held on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at Merrimack Valley High School in Concord, NH. This year's Keynote Speaker is doctor and author Daphne Miller, M.D.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Monica Rico,
NOFA-NH Winter Conference Coordinator: winterconference@nofanh.org.

Click here to learn more about opportunities for sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers.

Announcing Our *New* Members Only Listserv
With a primary mission of developing support networks that connect organic farmers, gardeners and organic seeking consumers, we're excited to announce the upcoming launch of our Members Only Listserv.

This new offering will provide our members with a space to share information, ask questions, find answers, and collaborate with peers.

Current and new members will soon receive an invitation to join the listserv, along with instructions on how to navigate the platform. Once joined, you'll be able to send and receive emails to the entire group, tailor how you'd like to receive messages, and of course, unsubscribe at any point, if you wish.

We are excited to provide our members with this new tool, and look forward to connecting with you!

Click here to become a NOFA-NH member, or renew.
We Still Need Board Members - Could That Be You?

We mentioned in our September issue that we're looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our fun and dynamic volunteer Board of Directors, and the need is still here.

Are you dedicated to supporting the local and organic food movement?  Passionate about building and sustaining healthy communities?  Interested in working with the NOFA Interstate council on regional efforts to bring about positive and lasting change?

Do you have some strong executive skills that you would like to share with your favorite farming organization? Are you good at managing money, raising money, thinking strategically, managing people?

If any of the above resonates with you, please get in touch! C ontact Nicole Kolb at info@nofanh.org  or call (603) 224-5022.

We know that life is busy and your time is valuable, so we promise not to waste it.

If you'd like to learn more about our Board of Directors and Staff,  click here .
Remember NOFA-NH on #GivingTuesday, November 28th

Wow, #GivingTuesday is right around the corner! We invite you to honor the holiday of harvest, community, bounty and health by making a donation to NOFA-NH.

All donations of any size truly make a difference.

Feel good about kicking off the giving season this year by helping to promote, preserve and protect organic agriculture in our community on November 28th, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Your donations contribute directly to important programs and materials that matter to you.  And, don't forget, your donation is tax deductible! 

Visit our Membership Page to learn more about how you can help NOFA-NH flourish.  Thank you for your support!
Renew Your Membership or Join Today!

We've streamlined to just two membership levels:
  • Student/Senior Membership: $30 (Available to full-time students currently enrolled in school and persons over 65 years old)
  • Standard Membership: $45 (Available to everyone)

Check out a list of member benefits on the membership page of our website.

Current memberships  will continue for one year from the date you joined.

Farm Irrigation & Pond Management Series 1 of 2
Tuesday, November 21
Goffstown, NH

Farm Irrigation & Pond Management Series 2 of 2
Tuesday, November 28
Goffstown, NH

Cover Crop Forum
Wednesday, November 29
Concord, NH

Soil & Nutrient Conference 
November 29 - 30
Southbridge, MA
Details & Registration Here

Root Skills Conference
November 30 - December 2
Manchester, NH

Growing for the Future
December 4 - 7
Virtual Conference

New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference
December 12 - 14
Manchester, NH

What's happening in neighboring states?


Office Hours: Mon/Wed/Fri 10am-3pm
Phone: (603) 224-5022       Email: info@nofanh.org

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