Rodale Institute and farming industry members are developing a new certification that will foster a more organic agriculture ecosystem.
The organic farming non-profit recently announced the new Regenerative Organic Certification—a collaborative initiative among a coalition of brands, farmers, nonprofits, ranchers and scientists. The certification features guidelines on soil, land and health management, animal welfare and labor ethics. With the certification, farming industry members will be able to engage in more sustainable practices for harvesting, ranching and processing food and fiber items.
Built upon the ethos of former organic movement visionaries, including J.I. Rodale and Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the goals of the certification are to increase soil over time, better animal welfare, provide fair wages and economic stability for farmers, ranchers and workers, in addition to developing resilient regional communities and ecosystems. Rodale Institute said the certification will support existing standards incorporated by USDA Organic and similar programs and facilitate widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural methods.
Complementing each of the certificate’s goals are three pillars—soil health, social fairness and animal welfare. Under soil health, farmers will engage in minimal tillage, rotational grazing, omit GMOs from their food and consumer products and build soil overtime. Leveraging standards of other labor organizations, including the Agricultural Justice Project and Fair Trade, the social justice pillar promotes fair living wages and bans the use of forced labor in agricultural environments. For farmers working with livestock, the animal welfare pillar supports the five freedoms, including freedom from hunger and freedom from distress, advises on humane conditions and supports minimal transport distances.
[Read more on sustainability certifications: NSF International Adds Sustainable Certifications for the Apparel Industry]
NSF International, an independent testing and auditing company, is facilitating the public comment process, which is set to end on Nov. 30. Following the public comment period, farming industry members are urged to incorporate these practices into their supply chain and develop a market for Regenerative Organic Certified products.