PCC joins the National Organic Coalition
by Lea Kone
This article was originally published in July 2018
In March, after more than a year of conversation, vetting and careful consideration, PCC Community Markets joined the National Organic Coalition (NOC). PCC is now one of 14 carefully selected NOC member organizations. This deliberate process is characteristic of NOC and our ongoing work to ensure that organic remains innovative, economically viable, and full of integrity.
There are many “players” in the organic community and what differentiates NOC is our commitment to seeking consensus from our diverse group of members, which includes organic growers, certifiers, grassroots organizers, skilled business people, lawyers, scientists and policy experts (see sidebar).
Developing and advancing policy via consensus is a hallmark of NOC. Though a time-consuming process, consensus helps us to arrive at stronger, more collaborative solutions than we would on our own. Consensus relies on an open and honest deliberation of points in favor or against a proposed action or position. Consensus strives for unity of opinion, rather than a unanimous opinion, meaning everyone agrees with the essence of a decision or can support its implementation by the coalition.
NOC uses the consensus process in developing comments to the biannual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). NOC’s NOSB Coordinator, Christie Badger, expertly facilitates this process, where our 14-member organizations jointly craft written comments to the NOSB on as many as 40 topics and materials for each NOSB meeting.
NOC is a well-known leader in the organic community in our work to advance organic and to maintain integrity in the organic program. Often members of the NOSB, staff members at the National Organic Program, and members of Congress seek out the innovative policy solutions to challenging issues that NOC is able to offer.
2018 already has proven to be a very busy year for organic policy work. This spring USDA withdrew the widely popular Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. In opposition to this announcement, NOC recently joined Center for Food Safety and other organizations in a lawsuit to sue the Trump administration over the withdrawal.
NOC Policy Director, Steve Etka, and NOC Executive Director, Abby Youngblood, also have been busy pushing forward our organic priorities with overlapping and ever-changing timelines of the 2018 and 2019 appropriations processes, as well as the 2018 Farm Bill. NOC has been instrumental in working with several Congressional offices in drafting marker bills for the Farm Bill.
NOC is thrilled that the Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed the 2018 annual agriculture funding bill that represents a significant step forward for organic. The bill incorporated many of NOC’s requests for increased funding and a focus on organic programs.
NOC’s 2019 appropriations priorities include increased funding for a variety of programs: National Organic Program, Organic Transitions Program, public plant and animal breeding, and the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education program.
NOC’s Farm Bill priorities include: organic research, Organic Certification Cost Share, regionally adapted seeds and breeds, increasing domestic production of organic crops, addressing enforcement challenges, strengthening oversight of the organic label, and protecting the role and structure of the National Organic Standards Board.
The organic policy arena is fast and furious during these contentious political times, but we are tireless in our work, and it is our great pleasure to work with and represent PCC Community Markets.
We hope you’ll visit our website www.NationalOrganicCoalition.org to learn more about NOC’s work and policy positions, and to join our email list. Please also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalOrganicCoalition and on Twitter @NationalOrganic.
Lea Kone is assistant director of the National Organic Coalition.
- Beyond Pesticides
- Center for Food Safety
- Consumers Union
- Equal Exchange
- Food & Water Watch
- Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
- Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES)
- National Co+op Grocers
- Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
- Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliances (NODPA)
- Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA)
- Organic Seed Alliance
- PCC Community Markets
- Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)