Organic Standards Board Welcomes 5 New Members

By Margaret Badore for

In January 2012 there will be five new additions to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). These individuals were announced after winning approval from the USDA in December. The NOSB board is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the national organic standards, in addition to dictating which ingredients may be used in processed USDA-certified organic products.

The board, made of 15 individuals, includes the following industry representation:

  • 1 retailer
  • 1 scientist
  • 1 USDA certifying agent
  • 2 handlers
  • 3 environmentalists
  • 3 consumer interest advocates
  • 4 farmers/producers

The newest NOSB board members are:

Harold V. Austin (handler)
He is currently the director of Orchard Administration at Zirkle Fruit Company, an organic fruit tree grower and shipper. He also serves as a board member for two organic advisories – the Washington State Department of Agricultureís Organic Advisory Board and the Northwest Horticultural Councilís Science Advisory Board.

Carmela Beck (farmer)
Beck is the National Organic Program Supervisor and Organic Certification Grower Liaison for Driscollís. NOSB particularly values her experience working with large-scale organic farms in California, where the majority of organic produce in the United Sates is grown.

Tracy Favre (environmentalist)
She is the COO for Holistic Management International, which promotes sustainable land usage strategies and farm restoration. In the past she has worked with an organic certification agency and for the American Indian Resource Center.

Andrea Sonnabend (scientist)
Sonnabend is currently the policy and organic inspector specialist at California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF), a pioneer in providing organic certification in the US. Her other work includes several board positions with several organic-focused organizations, as well as a previous position as an NOSB advisor in the 90s.

Jean Richardson (consumer interest advocate)
She holds a Ph.D and is Professor Emerita of Natural Resources, Environmental Studies and Geography at the University of Vermont. She was previously appointed by President Clinton to the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Her reputation as a tough inspector has resulted in the revocation of organic certifications several producers.

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William K.
William K6 years ago

Please help to make the USDA certification meaningful.

Carol P.
Carol P6 years ago

Anything organic is fine with me. Always good to see that others are paying attention as well.