The board makes recommendations on whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling; assists in developing standards for substances used in organic production; and advises the agricultural secretary. It is Congressionally mandated and includes four organic producers, two handlers, three environmentalists, three consumer advocates, a scientist, an organic retailer, and an organic certifier.
The new board members are scheduled to take their seats Jan. 24 and serve for five years. They are:
- Handler representative: Harold Austin, director of orchard administration for Zirkle Fruit Co. in Selah, Wash., which owns Rainier Fruit Co. Austin is also a member of the Washington State Organic Advisory Board;
- Producer representative: Carmela Beck, national organic program supervisor and organic certification grower liaison for Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates Inc., in Watsonville, Calif. Beck is also a member of the California Certified Organic Farmers Government Advisory Council;
- Environmentalist representative: Tracy Favre, chief operating officer for Holistic Management International, an international non-profit group whose mission is to educate about how to manage land sustainably;
- Consumer representative: Jean Richardson, professor emerita of natural resources, environmental studies and geography at the University of Vermont. She is a maple syrup producer and organic inspector. President Clinton appointed her to represent the U.S. on the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation; and
- Scientist representative: Andrea Sonnabend, policy specialist and organic inspector specialist for CCOF. She served on the board of the Organic Materials Review Institute, the Organic Seed Alliance, the International Organic Inspectors Association, and the California Department of Agriculture Invasive Species Advisory Council. She also served as a technical advisor to the National Organic Standards Board from 1993 to 1995.