#032: Organic and regenerative farmers often talk about the importance of beneficial soil microbes and the need for diversity of life below ground...but what about above ground? Karen Washington speaks to the need to diversify the farming community at our conferences and in our fields, making time to listen and learn from growers of all backgrounds.
Karen Washington is a farmer, community activist, and lifetime resident of NYC. She is the co-founder of Rise and Root Farm, the Black Farmer Fund, and Black Urban Growers and has served on the board of the New York Botanical Garden. She was voted one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the country by Ebony Magazine in 2012, and was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award in 2014.
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The Real Organic Podcast is hosted by Dave Chapman and Linley Dixon, engineered by Brandon StCyr, and edited and produced by Jenny Prince.
The Real Organic Project is a farmer-led movement working towards certifying 1,000 farms across the United States this year. Our add-on food label distinguishes soil-grown fruits and vegetables from hydroponically-raised produce. It also identifies pasture-raised meat, milk, and eggs as compared to products harvested from animals in horrific confinement (CAFOs - confined animal feeding operations).
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We believe that the organic standards, with their focus on soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare were written as they should be. But the current lack of enforcement of those standards is jeopardizing small farms that follow the law. The lack of enforcement is also jeopardizing the overall health of the customers who support the organic movement; customers who are not getting what they pay for at market but are still paying a premium price. The lack of enforcement is jeopardizing the very cycles (water, air, nutrients) that Earth relies upon to provide us all with a place to live, by pushing extractive, chemical agriculture to the forefront.
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