Houriet, Robert (interviewee)
History of NOFA, part 3: changes in NOFA in the 1980s; NOFA had chance to be a cooperative cooperative and failed because of lack of state support and because influence of national wholesalers. (00:03:10) NOFA made decision to rotate meetings monthly from Hanover to some other area, targeting areas where they wanted to organize. (00:05:50) Grant to fund apprentice project. (00:07:30) Circumstances beyond NOFA's control: globalization (and NAFTA) works against the idea of a locally integrated food economy; charge that NOFA sold out on certification and the corporate takeover of organic standards. NAFTA means can import organic products to US at great advantage due to currency difference and Mexican growers with dubious commitment to organic devastate local growers. (00:11:53) The growers themselves that put their hopes in wholesalers for big bucks: the main problem in agriculture is the farmers themselves; farmers sold out and fell into competing with one another. (00:14:07) Competition and certification standards: standards have been written to favor some growers over others, one interest over others. (00:17:06) NetCoop/NOFA connections. (00:20:35) NOFA active with NetCoop in formation of Cooperative Bank of New England, a counter-institution that was not enough in the 1980s and faded away. (00:26:09) Houriet is writing a piece on the internal organization of the 1960s and apparent that the main problem internally (apart from the external problems) is the relationships between men and women; if main problem of agriculture is farmers, the main problem of radical and revolutionary groups is between people; issues over process. (00:30:44) May take a spiritual revolution for people to wake up over their commonalty. (00:32:00) Challenges to organic definition by bioengineering, etc. (00:35:40) Organic needs to be considered from its original definitions not as a technical approach or as its ends in produce, and should not get distracted by bioengineering; organic is a way of social organization as well as a product, a means as well as an end. (00:37:19) Is the CSA movement going back to the interdependent ideal, similar to what happened when communes and back to the landers realized they could not supply all their needs, but felt need for cooperative structures; problem with CSA is that agriculture is in dire straits and funders want one-size solutions: farmers' markets were the panacea in the 1970s and CSAs in the 1990s, but has limited effect on most farmers. (00:42:56) NOFA was predicated on the economic feasibility of organic agriculture, but as prices have declined as a result of globalization, organic agriculture has become less and less feasible; there are always new people coming in, but they do it for a few years then go out because it is not economically feasible: no farming is feasible; so apart from being an organization dedicated to gardeners, how do you do forward?