My future career will be as an organic inspector and educator for the South East. I believe that the South East has the potential to be a major influence in the organic movement. The National Agricultural Statistics Services illustrates that in 2016, not one South Eastern state exceeded over 500 certified organic farms; six of these states having fewer than 50 certified farms. However, this void of organic certification should not be misunderstood as a lack of organic practices within the region. The South East has a strong and growing population of farms and farmers that do have organic practices.
I want to use my background as a speaker and educator to dispel the myths of organic certification. After taking the IOIA crop training, I realized that there are many farmers and agriculturalist who don't truly understand what it means to "go organic". For there to be progress, we must have educators who will train others with accurate information and reliable resources.
My future lies in organic agriculture, not just my career. I am bound through a deep love for my state and region to usher it into a future where food is produced and processed in a way that is nourishing to the land, the wildlife that inhabits it, the workers that cultivate it, and those that eat from its bounty.
Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grants.