Protesters arrived at the latest National Organic Standards Board meeting (NOSB) – the body that sets the rules for organic agricultural production. But it was not a mob of conventional farmers, nor was the group peaceful soccer moms angry about pricing on their way home from Whole Foods.

The people protesting the NOSB meeting were the people living and working under the NOSB rules, in protest of a rule change that could make it difficult to remove synthetic items from the NOSB’s list of “allowed” substances.

Handcuffs were needed, according to a recent Washington Post article, but it does not appear violence was involved.

The situation shows the rift in the organic marketplace; some organic farmers think synthetics should be banned altogether, while others believe the current case-by-case approach should remain.

But some are supporting the formation of another system to rid us of the organic vs. conventional fight, like Amy Hepworth, an organic farmer from New York interviewed for the Post article. Hepworth, who grows 350 products on 200 acres, thinks a hybrid system would be best. Her system would allow her to buy lower-priced conventional seeds but use organic practices on the land.

That sounds like a fourth system, one with lower production costs but higher market value. The real question is, how many pairs of handcuffs would it take to get there?

Source: Washington Post