Organic TV

Green living expert, author, and TV personality, Sara Snow, explains the USDA organic seal and why "natural" is not organic.

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Do You Know?

  • Three new studies confirm that exposures to common insecticides during pregnancy can cut a child’s IQ 4% to 7%  by age 9.
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Our Projects

Fire Blight in Organic Apple and Pear Orchards

The Organic Center (TOC) has completed a project providing critically needed information on how to prevent fire blight from decimating apple and pear orchards without the use of antibiotics. Fire blight is a serious problem for apple and pear growers in the US.  Unlike some fruit pathogens, fire blight doesn’t just damage or destroy that season’s fruit – it can kill the entire tree.  It is caused by the bacteria Erwinia amylovora, and is easily spread among trees and orchards.  With growers now spending up to $20,000 per acre to establish an orchard, the risk of severe tree injury or loss from fire blight needs to be controlled.  This Critical Issue Report on controlling fire blight  in organic orchards is currently available for download!

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The Effects of Organic Farming Practices on Nitrogen Pollution

The Organic Center is working with Professor James Galloway, Ariel Majidi, and Allison Leach at the University of Virginia to investigate the effect of different farming systems on nitrogen pollution.  Nitrogen pollution is a problem, because it can lead to eutrophication of aquatic environments and “Dead Zones” in the coastal ocean.  It also contributes to climate change, acid rain, smog, biodiversity loss, and more.  This project focuses on how farming practices can have an impact on the amount of reactive nitrogen released into the environment.

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Decreasing Arsenic Uptake in Organic Rice Systems

The Organic Center has partnered with the  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to conduct targeted research on the factors affecting the presence of arsenic in organically grown rice.  ARS scientists are testing stored samples of organic rice grown under controlled organic conditions at USDA research facilities, and examining the factors that directly impact the rate of arsenic accumulation in rice grown organically—varietal selection, flooding and organic compliant fertilizers. The goal is to offer future strategies to the organic sector to minimize such accumulation.

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Soil Health in Organic Farms

Directed by Principal Research Scientist Elham Ghabbour and Professor Geoffrey Davies, the National Soil Project (NSP) at Northeastern University is collaborating with The Organic Center to examine some of the benefits organic agriculture may have on soil health.  We are also working with with OFRF on soil health communication.  Specifically, this project will quantify the amount of sequestered carbon in hundreds of organic farm top soil samples for comparison with corresponding conventional samples to determine differences in levels of humic acids (HA), fulvic acids (FA), and humin (HU) in the soils. These efforts will result in a reference database that will enable agronomists, farmers and environmental scientists to correlate soil health and productivity with agricultural practices, which will be an essential tool for maintaining and improving the quality of our nation’s soil through organic farming.

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Health Effects of Dietary Exposure to Pesticides

This collaborative project of The Organic Center and Professor Lu of Harvard University will examine the health effects associated with dietary pesticide exposure through meta-analysis of currently published data. This research is critically needed; although research studies are increasingly finding pesticides negatively affect human health, public awareness of these findings is low because there are no recent reviews analyzing and summarizing available information. This project will look at a wide variety of research on health effects of pesticide exposure to be able to answer the question: “how does eating food with pesticide residues affect my health?”

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