organic

Sayyid Azim / AP

You see the label on coffee, chocolate, t-shirts and even gold, “Fair Trade.” The extra dollars you pay for the products are meant to guarantee they’re produced ethically and sustainably. And that the farmers and workers who produced them are justly compensated. What began as a humble effort by a few churches and activists a half a century ago to help people in the developing world has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. But the movement has attracted critics, who say the label today is mostly marketing that benefits companies in Europe and the U.S.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

When it comes to organic certification, there are strict guidelines for food producers to follow. 

Think about an organic steak. The cow it came from has to be raised on organic feed. The feed mix can’t be produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic engineering. 

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. The problem is several consumer groups say the recommended rules don’t go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods.


Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

  On this week's Under the Microscope, farmed fish may soon have a certified organic alternative. 

Flickr / Natalie Maynor

Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. The organic label gives insight into how the food was produced, usually without the aid of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and food additives.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’sField Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

A Midwestern farmer with a well-known last name has set out to fight hunger on a global scale. 

Abbie Fentriss Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers across the country expected to start the New Year with a new farm bill, the all-important legislation setting agricultural policy for the next five years.

As House and Senate negotiators worked feverishly at the turn of the year to come to a fiscal cliff deal, word leaked that the Agriculture Committees had finally come to an agreement on a long-awaited new farm bill. But the final fiscal cliff deal ditched new legislation and merely extended parts of the bill that expired in October. Jeremy Bernfeld reports the extension left many farmers frustrated.

Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

On East Main Street in West Plains, Mo., a stone’s throw away from the quaint town square, Meadowbrook Natural Foods sits sandwiched between an insurance agency and a title company. When you step inside, the aroma of spices, herbs, and vitamins hits you.

This store is owned and run by Joe and Adele Voss, who met later in life as random partners at a square dancing lesson.

“We’ve got baking items and snack items and pastas and grains and flours and cereals and nuts and dried fruits and beans and spices and herbs...” says Adele Voss.