Mar 27, 2019
On Sourcing Matters episode 70 we welcome Elizabeth Whitlow –
Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).
In early 2018, the ROA was formed as a non-profit cohort of
organizations and businesses led by Rodale Institute, Patagonia,
and Dr. Bronner’s. These vested founders began the process of
developing a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) – a unique,
high-bar agricultural standard that leverages the foundation of
USDA certified organic – and elevates it steps further.
The goal of regenerative organic agriculture is to offer practical solutions to the world’s biggest social and ecological challenges. We’ve learned that we’re beyond the point of sustainability and we need to regenerate the soil and land that supports us, the animals that nourish us, and the farmers and workers that feed us. This has developed into a call to action of the ROA and defined a path forward where we’re all part of the solution.
In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the iterative approach that Elizabeth and her supporters are taking in rolling-out the ROC standards. We learn how the industry can begin to better incentivize on-ramping of more producers and suppliers that will implement elevated production standards to source differentiated food for the benefit of human, animal and planetary health. We assess the roles of the different stakeholders, and how that all comes to fruition through the actions of consumers. We discuss how these new high-bar standards relate to Soil Health, Animal Welfare & Social Fairness, and what that means for broader audiences of both farmers and eaters.
Elizabeth Whitlow has dedicated her career in regenerative agriculture to further the impact of high-bar certifications. Prior to taking the helm at the ROA, in her most recent role as EarthClaims’ director of certification she oversaw a team working to provide private, third-party verification services for animal welfare, grass-fed claims, antibiotic-free and customized audits to support specific marketing claims. Prior to EarthClaims, Elizabeth was a fellow at the Leadership for a Sustainable Future. Elizabeth also spent 16 years with California Certified Organic Farmers in roles ranging from reviewer, senior inspector, and livestock specialist to inspection operations manager.