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Farm to Fork Across America: Fraudulent or Credible: Organic Labeling and More

Confused about the different labels claiming organic at your grocer? Already in Corvallis at the Linus Pauling Institute, the opportunity presented itself to explore this thorny topic. With a story begging for imminent release and interviews behind us from our Western States tour, Lee stayed in the Café of the Institute to write. Julie Brothers drove off to the headquarters of Oregon Tilth. Chris Schreiner, mover and shaker, met Julie to discuss their mission.

From www.huffingtonpost.com:

Story by Julie Brothers

Co-written with Lee Glenn

Confused about the different labels claiming organic at your grocer? So are we! Already in Corvallis at the Linus Pauling Institute, the opportunity presented itself to explore this thorny topic.

With a story begging for imminent release and interviews behind us from our Western States tour, Lee stayed in the Café of the Institute to write. I drove off to the headquarters of Oregon Tilth. Chris Schreiner, mover and shaker, met me to discuss their mission.

Rich in the history of the organic movement, Oregon Tilth, a 3rd party, non-profit, organic certification service, touches on all stages of the organic food chain. Growing out of a 1970's counter-culture group dedicated to small-ag farming, Tilth is consistently way ahead of their time. Their focus coined two important new phrases in agriculture:

• Biologically Sound
• Socially Equitable

Wendell Berry, Key Note speaker at their first grass-roots conference, expressed Tilth's ultimate mission. As per Chris, "...to infuse a new direction in the marketplace by delivering uncompromised, good food." 

Tilth's strategy was to codify a certification process for all segments of the organic food chain: farmers, distributors, processors, restaurants, composters, mulchers, even spinners to dyers to weavers to the shirt on your back.

As we learned from Bob Durst at Linus Pauling, a handshake deal no longer conveys trust in the business world. His studies include investigating economic fraud and identifying adulterated products that do not meet the claims on their labels. Rampant in the food industry, it's easy to imagine unethical food suppliers slapping an "Organic" tag on their products to gain an edge.

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