Are We F*@!ed?: Pursuing the Organic Vision in Today’s Market

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

This panel discussion tackles concerns emerging from the success and growth of the organic trade. What happens when mainstream companies enter the organic sector and apply their standard rules of marketplace engagement? Are there limits to the organic trade as a market-based mechanism to pursue an evolving definition and practice of "good, clean and fair" agriculture? Join panelists to discuss where we’ve been, where we are now and what the future might hold.

Speakers: David Lively, Organically Grown Company; Tom Willey, T & D Farms; Matthew Dillon, CLIF Bar; Mark Lipson, Chris Schreiner

Speaker Bios

David Lively (Moderator) has been engaged in the organic foods movement since 1973, and professionally since 1983, in roles ranging from eater to farmer to Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Organically Grown Company.  He was a co-founder of Organically Grown Company, the Sustainable Food Trade Association and Organicology.  He has served on the boards of OGC, Oregon Tilth, SFTA, the Oregon Organic Coalition, Organic Seed Alliance, and currently the Organic Trade Association. 

Chris Schreiner has over 20 years work experience in the organic sector. Since 1998, he has worked for Oregon Tilth. As Farm Program Coordinator, Chris coordinated the organic certification process for over 400 farms. As Quality Control Director, his responsibilities included policy analysis and managing accreditation with the USDA National Organic Program. Chris has been Oregon Tilth’s Executive Director since 2009. He has developed formal partnerships with traditional agricultural service providers, including Oregon State University and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, to expand access to expertise and resources for organic farmers. In 2014, Chris served on the Oregon Governor’s Task Force on Genetically Engineered Agriculture. Chris is currently the co-chair of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Research, Education and Extension Committee.

Tom Willey, with his wife Denesse, operated T&D Willey Farms from 1981 until 2016, a seventy-five-acre Certified Organic farm in Madera, California, growing a wide array of Mediterranean vegetables the year round. T&D Willey Farms produce was appreciated in specialty markets and fine restaurants up and down the U.S. West Coast as well as on the tables of over 800 weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription members in their own community. Tom was, for nearly a decade, Slow Food USA's governor for California's Central Valley and he passionately advocates for local food prominence through his writing, speaking, radio, and event organizing activities. His monthly "Down on the Farm" radio interview program features the work of progressive farmers and others prominent in San Joaquin Valley's agriculture and food communities. Tom has served over the years on the boards of directors of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and presently is a member of CCOF Certification Services’ five-person LLC Management Committee. He currently serves as a Policy Advisor to The Cornucopia Institute which monitors integrity of the U.S. organic industry.