This is a sponsored post. I am very excited to partner with the Organic Trade Association to share this information with you. All opinions are my own.
Over the last 5 years I have noticed the demand for organic foods and products has grown – which is great but there is a problem: our country is not keeping up with this demand. A lot of the organic products we buy are actually imported, and that comes at a cost. There is also a lot of misinformation about organics and brands trying to pass off as organic by using the word “natural”. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a bigger supply of organic foods – grown locally? Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if organic was more affordable?
Now there is way we can make this happen but we need your help – and it will only take one minute of your time.
The Organic Trade Association and Gro Organic Core have presented an application to the USDA for an Organic Check-Off Program. In order to make this happen, all you have to do is sign here but if you want to learn more about it, keep on reading.
What is a Check-Off program?
You are probably very familiar with check-off programs like: “Got Milk?”, “Pork: the other white meat” or “The Incredible Edible Egg”. These programs don’t promote a specific product or brand but the community/industry as a whole.
The word “check-off” comes from the fact that producers and handlers check-off a box to be part of a program that will promote the industry. Each participant of the check-off pays a small fee that will be used for promoting the campaign, education and other ways as they see fit. Each check-off is a little different.
What is the purpose of an Organic Check-Off?
The goal of the GRO Organic Check-Off is the following:
The Organic Check-Off could raise over $30 million per year that will be used for promotional, educational and research. Can you imagine all that can be accomplish with this money?
Is the Organic Check-Off different than any other Check-Off?
Some of the comments around other check-off are controversial so when the Organic Check-Off was created they decided to do things a little different. These are the main differences and the ones that are the most important to me:
- The board will be 50% producers and 50% handlers – this means no one sector will have a say about how things are done, they will have to agree and create programs, initiatives and policies that benefit both parties.
- Producers will select their regional representatives.
Every single certificate holder subject to an organic check-off assessment would have a direct vote.
- Around 50-75% of the funds will be for research.
- Every 7 years there will be a chance to vote again to decide if the organic check-off is beneficial, if it isn’t it could get shut down.
You can more about the organic check-off here.
Why is it so focused on education and research?
Education is important. There are so many brands that claim their products are natural and I’ve even seen some claim they are organic (not USDA organic, just organic) and when I look at the ingredients there is only one or two that are actually organic. There is a lot of confusion and investing in education is key. The consumer can understand what all these labels mean and what buying organic really means.
Think about it for a moment, I assume you know organic is better for you, but do you really know why? If you had to think about it for minute, then you can see how investing in education and research is so important.
But not all education efforts will be for so consumers, there will be also for farmers. One of the goals of check-off is to focus on farmers, to teach them about organic farming, the benefits of it and help them to transition from conventional to organic farming. This will create a bigger supply of organic in our country and reduce the dependency on imported products.
Will this have a negative effect on small farmers?
This organic check-off has been created so it’s fair to all certified organic entities. Each organic stakeholder will have an equal voice/vote. As mentioned before, the farmers will conform 50% of the board to assure their needs, concerns and suggestions are heard.
Organic stakeholders that makes less than $250,000 a year can opt out of the program. Those voluntarily paying into the program will pay 1/10 of 1 percent of their net organic sales. This means if an organic farm has sales of $90,000 a year, they would pay $90 a year into the check-off fund.
There have also been surveys amongst organic stakeholder and over 75% of them support this program. Why? Because they will be benefited if the demand in organic is higher and with the check-off there will be resources to increase organic production in the US.
How will the GRO Organic Check-Off benefit you?
The biggest benefit of this check-off for you, the consumer, is that organic products will be more affordable. Right now less than 1% of our farms are organic, which means there’s a lack of organic produce and a lot of is getting imported. This is why basic things like eggs or meats are so much more expensive when they’re organic.
If we’re able to produce more organic vegetables, fruits, diary, eggs, meats, etc. here in the U.S. the cost of these items will drop, there will be more supply and they will be more accessible. Organic should be available to anyone, anywhere and that is one of the things this check-off program is trying to accomplish.
How you can help?
To make this organic check-off a reality we need you to support it. All you have to do is sign in the form below:
You can also visit the official Organic Check-Off site and sign right there. Every signature counts, so please share this with your family and friends.
Want to learn more about the Organic Check-off?
Have questions? Leave a comment.