When people buy organic produce they generally expect that it is cultivated as part of a broader environmental philosophy, one that also includes a sense of stewardship for the natural ecosystem as a whole.
Unfortunately, current organic regulations actually do nothing to prevent a new generation of large-scale organic farms from swallowing up pristine ecosystems and wildlands. In some ways, the current regulatory system even incentivize this process.
Because prisitne wild lands, those that have never been exposed to agrochemicals, can also be most quickly certified as organic, they are the most attractive to well-funded corporations looking to launch large-scale organic farms. As a result, organic certification must be strengthened to protect our sensitive ecosystems from exploitation.
The Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) established that organic producers must conserve biodiversity.The tenet of this law must now be defended and regulatory loopholes that incentivize the conversion of wild lands to organic agricultural development must be closed. The wild ecosystems that surround our farmlands must also be protected as part of a broader agroecology.
Even simple changes in the organic certification, as suggested by the NOSB’s regulatory addition, would help begin to disincentivize the conversion of native ecosystems into organic production. Burning down rainforests to plant “organic” soybeans, or irrigating the desert tin order o develop concentrated animal feeding operations for “organic” mega-dairies does not comport with the authentic tenets of an organic philosophy.