Press Release

New Organic Food and Farming Report Details Policy Opportunities for Upcoming Farm Bill and Beyond

Melodie Mendez
mmendez@nrdc.org, 212-727-4442

Catherine Cuello-Fuente
catherine@originalstrategies.com, 917-545-8696

WASHINGTON – NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Swette Center at Arizona State University (ASU) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) published a new report, featuring over a dozen organic farmers and ranchers across the nation and detailing the climate, economic and public health benefits of organic food and farming.

The report, Grow Organic: The Climate, Health, & Economic Case for Expanding Organic Agriculture, provides a roadmap for lawmakers to unlock the potential of organic agriculture in the 2023 Farm Bill and beyond, including:

  • Expanding organic production by supporting organic transition;
  • Ramping up federal resources that promote organic innovation, success, and accessibility;
  • Ensuring racial and Indigenous justice and equitable participation in organic agriculture;
  • Using true cost accounting to identify agricultural investments that benefit the public;
  • Creating stable organic markets through public procurement;
  • Rewarding organic management and ecosystem services in agricultural policies;
  • Educating the public about the benefits of organic;
  • Investing in regional supply chains to meet growing demand for organic;
  • Strengthening organic rules and enforcement; and,
  • Integrating organic throughout public institutions.

As policymakers turn their attention to the upcoming Farm Bill, timely investments in the expansion of organic farming and ranching can address many of the economic, climate, and health challenges facing communities across America.

The following are statements from the co-authors of the report:

“It’s time to unlock the potential of organic agriculture through our public policies, including the upcoming Farm Bill. Taxpayers are spending billions every year to prop up conventional farming practices that put people and the environment in danger. Investing in the transition to organic means climate-resilient farming, healthier food options, and more robust local economies.” - Allison Johnson, Senior Attorney, NRDC

“Expanding organic agriculture is an investment in our future, one that could ultimately produce significant returns. Today’s conventional system contains immense hidden costs subsidized by our tax dollars that we can no longer afford. When we account for the true costs of our current farming systems—including health, environmental, social, and economic impacts—the value of organic farming is undeniable. This report lays out where we need to go.” - Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director, Swette Center at Arizona State University

“California leads the nation in agriculture - and pesticide use. The state needs to shift toward policies that protect our communities from these dangerous chemicals, including expanding support for organic agriculture.” - Angel Garcia, Co-Director, Californians for Pesticide Reform

Additional Resources:

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About NRDC

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

About ​​Swette Center at Arizona State University

As one of the largest and most innovative universities in the world, ASU brings together faculty committed to sustainability solutions like no other. ASU ranks top in the US and 5th globally among universities in the pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving sustainable food systems requires problem-solving teams who are infused with a diversity of expertise, eager collaboration and innovative spirit. Swette Center food system experts come from every corner of the university, including from the pool of more than 550 sustainability scientists and scholars who are dedicated to pursuing solutions, engagement, education and research for a sustainable future. Under the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, former US Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the USDA and internationally renowned expert on food systems and sustainability, we work on cutting edge science and policy.

About Californians for Pesticide Reform

Californians for Pesticide Reform is a diverse, statewide coalition of 200+ member groups working to strengthen pesticide policies in California to protect public health and the environment. Member groups include public and children's health advocates, clean air and water groups, health practitioners, environmental justice groups, labor, education, farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates from across the state. Visit us at www.pesticidereform.org  and follow us on Twitter @CAPestReform.

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