As far as natural and organic companies go, there are few more trustworthy and ethical than Nature’s Path, which has even gone as far as to purchase vast acres of “conventional” farmlands and convert them to organic in order to meet its growing supply and demand challenges.
Unlike Cascadian Farms, which is owned by the pro-GMO corporation General Mills, Nature’s Path is independent to boot, and making huge waves in the world of natural food.
At a time when the vast majority of all organic foods on grocery store shelves are coming from overseas places like China and Turkey, Nature’s Path stands out as one of the shining stars of the movement.
And now, they’re holding up their end of the bargain by taking a principled stand against one of the most disappointing (some might say traitorous, based on their recent actions involving GMO labeling) organizations in the business.
Nature’s Path Leaves OTA in Protest to “Save Organic”
As noted in this press release from Nature’s Path Foods, the company is leaving the Organic Trade Association (OTA), citing its desire to “save organic” from bending to the whims of big corporations.
The company specifically has a bone to pick with the way the OTA is influencing policy decisions that affect the sanctity of the organic label, as well as the health of people and the planet.
“Our departure from the OTA is an act of protest to raise awareness of our concern that the important role organic plays to support the health of consumers and our planet is being compromised,” says Nature’s Path founder and co-CEO Arran Stephens. “We believe giant food corporations, that also happen to own small organic brands, use the OTA to influence policy decisions to protect the best interest of their large, non-organic food portfolios.”
In the past five years or so since the staggering growth of organic and non-GMO foods in the U.S., several big corporations including General Mills (which bought Annie’s and Cascadian Farm), Hormel (which bought Applegate organic meats), and WhiteWave (a spin-off of Dean Foods that bought Silk, Horizon and other brands) have bought out many of the United States’ favorite organic food brands.
Now, the very essence of organic is being watered down according to many stewards of the movement, including Dave Chapman, a longtime farmer from Vermont and founder of The Real Organic Project.
“All we are seeking is transparency,” Chapman said this past May about the dwindling standards and climate of lax regulation that has taken over Washington, D.C. and the organic program.
Chapman and his supporters also believe that hydroponics should not qualify as organics due to their ease of production and lack of similar nutrient and antioxidant profiles to organic food grown in the soil the old fashioned way.
“Our message is clear and simple. Organic farming must be based on healthy soil, with plants and animals as an integral part of that soil ecosystem. The only radical thing about our new standards is that they have been rejected by the USDA. They are a return to the fundamental beliefs of organic farming.”
On June 29, the Nature’s Path press release called out the OTA for the following decisions, which they believe are hurting the purity and quality of the organic food movement: misrepresenting organic food companies and U.S. citizens to support the bogus new supposed “GMO labeling” standards, and allowing hydroponics to be included in the “organic” definition even though they use no actual soil or organic agriculture, according to the company.
Also according to the press release, the OTA worked behind the scenes without the support or consent of many organic company members like Nature’s Path in order to pass the controversial “labeling bill,” which could actually exclude as many as 75% of all products containing GMOs from being labeled as such; a dream bill for Monsanto and Bayer.
Nature’s Path, Chapman and others believe the future of organic is at stake, and considering the benefits it provides for the environment, animals, and human health, perhaps no cause is more important.
“We believe organic can protect and enhance the health of people and planet. Organic can build a better world, free from food with chemical residues, free of toxic environments for farmers, and free of catering to big business at the expense of real people,” said Nature’s Path co-founder and CEO Arran Stephens.
“We’re alarmed the new bill works against our basic human right for food transparency which exists in 64 other countries around the globe with clear GMO labels.”
The company will continue to invest in the organic movement through the Organic Merchants program, as well as to continue its membership in the Canadian Organic Trade Association, fund research by the Organic Center, Organic Farmers Association and the Rodale Institute.
If this mission sounds like a noble to you, consider going out of your way to support them the next time you’re at the grocery or health food store.