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Letters to the Editor

Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg

Samuel Kayman and Gary Hirshberg in the old days

Hi Jack,

Congratulations on another fact-filled and informative issue. You did a great job of putting together material from before your time in NOFA. But I wanted to alert you to one rather grievous error in the photos…you erroneously identified a photo of Jack Cook “outstanding in his field” as Samuel Kaymen! I did a Google images search, and sure enough, UMass archive also has it incorrectly identified. I just sent them a note, and had previously given them complete captions on all my photos, which seem to have been lost.

As for the rest of the issue, I do have to raise a couple of concerns:

One important organic ally goes unacknowledged. While there is a reference to the role played by OFPANA (now the Organic Trade Association) in organizing the Organic Farmers Associations Caucus (OFAC) to lobby for passage of the OFPA, there is no mention of the ongoing role of OTA in advancing the organic agenda in Washington and in the scientific community, as well as in the marketplace. NOFA was instrumental in the formation of OTA in 1985, yet today only NOFA-Vermont claims membership in the organization. I know that many NOFA members take issue with some of OTA’s positions and I certainly have had my own disagreements with them. Nevertheless, we don’t all have to agree on everything to form alliances to further common goals, and it serves no one for NOFA to refuse to engage with an important organic stakeholder.

I continue to be dismayed at the tone of enmity and sheer paranoia with regard to the National Organic Program expressed in policy statements made on NOFA’s behalf. Beyond unsubstantiated innuendo, the piece entitled “Attacks on Organic Integrity—Where Do We Go From Here?” repeats several items of misinformation about earlier drafts of the NOP as well as ill informed interpretations of current NOP policy.
Best regards — Grace Gershuny, Barnet, VT

Hi Grace,
Wow, sorry about the photo error! I didn’t know Jack Cook (one of my predecessors as editor of this noble journal) and, as you say, the UMass archive where I got it had misidentified the photo. Thanks for the correction. I am publishing a photo of Samuel and Gary Hirshberg here for those interested.

On your other points (sorry I had to trim them for space) I think OTA lost much of my respect when it supported congressional legislation to turn back the Ar-thur Harvey court victory on organic standards in 2003, and lost the rest for not standing firm against preemption of state GMO labeling laws in 2016. I do not see an ally there, more an opportunist. I will let Steve respond in the next issue on his article if he wants, but I do feel that many NOP supporters are very dis-appointed with it recently, witness the failure to promulgate the animal welfare rule and aggressively pushing through a divisive sunset definition.
Gratefully – Jack