Page 13 - Griffin Gazette Spring 2017
P. 13

By John Johnston,      development? Well, we do in several             trademark and must only be used in direct
                             Retail Education       ways. As an industry, we support OMRI           connection with a specific product on the
                             Manager                through sponsorships, government grants,        OMRI-Listed products list. In April 2016,
                                                    manufacturers, product licensing and            OMRI-Listed products exceeded 4,000
                             Are you familiar with  labeling. Of course, as consumers, our          items reviewed and listed for organic use.
                             the butterfly effect?  purchases of certified products help fund
                             It’s the concept that  OMRI’s work, too.                               According to Rick Yates, GGSPro Technical
                             small causes can                                                       Services Manager, “Growers who wish to
                             have large effects.    But wait, it doesn’t end there. We buy          operate under certified organic production
                             The idea is that a     organic foods in stores from certified          practices find that the OMRI listing system
                             single occurrence,     farmers, organic meats from certified           gives them the standardization, guidelines
even a small one, can dramatically change           ranches, organic eggs and chickens from         and credibility that they seek. The OMRI
the course of events that follow.                   certified poultry farmers. The list goes on     website has a fully searchable database that
                                                    and on.                                         growers can use to determine the OMRI-
Now, most of you are probably pretty familiar                                                       Listed status of products they’re considering
with OMRI—what the organization is, and             Common marketing messages at retail             utilizing. If a product is approved for certain
how specific products bear its trademarked          today include the words safe, natural,          uses and not others, those conditions
label. But what about your customers?               certified, organic, free-range, non-GMO,        are spelled out to add clarity for
Do they understand what OMRI is and                 USDA-approved, non-chemical and bee-            participating growers.”
what it does? How has this organization             friendly. I firmly believe that OMRI was the
impacted our industry and how we perceive
organics today?                                     “It may have taken 20 years to see the OMRI
                                                    impact at store level, but the effects will surely
History of OMRI                                     continue to ripple through our supply chain.”
Founded in 1997, the Organic Materials
Review Institute (OMRI) is a 501(c)(3)              seed that may have started this renaissance     Expanding the Category
nonprofit organization that provides organic        of purity and organic awareness, the roots      The number of consumer products bearing
certifiers, organic growers, manufacturers          of which stretch far and wide.                  the OMRI-Listed logo has surged in recent
and suppliers an independent review                                                                 years. This trend is sure to continue as new
of products intended for use in certified           A Logo with Meaning                             audiences enter the retail (and wholesale)
organic production, handling and                    OMRI’s reach extends to consumers and           markets, seeking organic products
processing. OMRI reviews “input product”            educators, input suppliers, certifiers and,     and supplies.
to determine compliance with the USDA               finally, farmers and organic professionals.
National Organic Standards and/or Canada            You can bet the farm that these organic         OMRI research is also accepted and
Organic Regime (COR) standards.                     professionals include medicinal research        supported by our neighbors to the north,
                                                    and production! OMRI research,                  Canada. Qualifying products sold in
The mission of OMRI “is to support the              through trials and well-documented field        Canada carry their own OMRI-Listed logo;
growth and trust of the global organic              practice, has contributed heavily to the        there’s also a combined USA/Canada
community through expert, independent               government’s application and regulation of      label for products that meet the criteria
and transparent verification of input               the word “organic” when used on food or         of both the United States Department
materials, and through education and                fiber products.                                 of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canada
technical assistance.” At the time OMRI                                                             Organic Regime (COR).
was founded, more than 40 certifiers were           Input Products for Retailers and
performing organic certification using              Wholesalers                                     Griffin offers many OMRI-Listed products
various state and private standards. Not until      In order for a food to be sold at retail as     from both well-known and relatively
the year 2000, when the National Organic            “organic,” the item must conform to             new manufacturers. Sun Gro, Premier,
Standards (NOS) was published, did we               organic grower standards throughout             Hydrofarm, Blommer, St. Gabriels Labs,
have a starting point to certify organics and       the crop cycle. Griffin, as a supplier for      Safer, Monterey, Dynamite, Hoffman,
finally begin government enforcement two            farm, greenhouse and medicinal plant            Nature’s Source, Neptune’s Harvest, MYKE,
years later.                                        producers, provides some of the OMRI-           Healthy Grow, Sustane, Biosafe, Concern,
                                                    Listed inputs these growers need, including     and Summit all have OMRI-Listed products
With the financial backing of California            fertilizers, chemical and biological controls,  featured in our 2017 Griffin catalogs.
Certified Organic Farmers, Organic                  and disinfectants.
Trade Association, Oregon Tilth Certified                                                           Scanning the Retail Market
Organic and Organic Crop Improvement                OMRI-Listed certification isn’t for everyone.   Consider drawing some extra attention to
Association, along with many donors                 The cost to become certified and maintain       the OMRI-Listed products in your store. The
including Newman’s Own Organics, Whole              that status is expensive to manufacturers.      designation carries quite a bit of meaning
Foods Market, Smuckers Quality Beverages            Some that have qualifying products              to consumers who believe in the benefits
and the Humane Society, OMRI stepped out            choose not to pursue certification due to       of organic products. Next-generation
of the shadows to forge universal standards         the associated cost. It’s also no surprise      consumers are likely to be even stronger
and policies. Who could have predicted that         that more than 10% of all products              in their allegiance to all things organic.
the next 20 years of research from OMRI             submitted for certification are withdrawn or    It may have taken 20 years to see the
would change the course of agriculture with         refused because they don’t meet OMRI’s          OMRI impact at store level, but the effects
regard to organics, certification, practice,        strict parameters.                              will surely continue to ripple through our
safety, labeling, marketing and evaluation?                                                         supply chain.
                                                    The OMRI-Listed seal is a registered
The Seed That Grew Everywhere
The fact that OMRI is a nonprofit raises
the question: Who pays for all this work
and the people behind the research and
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