Organic News

Guest contribution

USA: Real Organic Project and Naturland form joint venture 

The goal of the cooperation is to increase the awareness of American consumers for high-quality organic products and thus to improve the market opportunities for organic farmers in the USA.

Ariel Pressman, Real Organic Project (ROP)

“With Real Organic Project we have found a partner in the U.S. who shares the same values and vision to create greater impact for eaters and farmers. Together we can make a difference for organic smallholders around the world,” says Steffen Reese, CEO at Naturland.  
“We were inspired by Naturland’s longevity and transparency. Our organizations both operate on a synergistic level when it comes to certification and foundational organic principles. We believe Naturland’s expertise will provide important guidance that will help shape our growth into the future,” says Dave Chapman, Co-director at Real Organic Project.

After several years of meetings, planning and partnership development Naturland and Real Organic Project (ROP) announced the formation of a collaborative joint venture on Feb 13th, 2023. The project will certify organic processors in North America who are sourcing from ROP certified farms, while also facilitating the import of Naturland certified products, both raw and processed, into the U.S. under a joint ROP seal. Broadly, the project will work to increase the US marketspace for certified organic growers and processors who meet the highest integrity and sustainability criteria. 

Unlike in many other parts of the world, the organic sector in the US allows the certification of hydroponic and container production of crops, as well as animal confinement. This has created a marketspace dominated by cheap “organic” products which don’t meet a common sense definition of organic production practices. The cheap prices have created market consolidation, making it incredibly difficult for farmers of integrity to access processors and supermarket shelves while also being paid a fair price. In response to these trends Real Organic Project was founded in 2017 as a farmer-led add-on certification to help uplift and differentiate farms which are operating under the true spirit of organic stewardship.  

Real Organic Project has quickly grown in the US as both a certification and social movement. We currently certify almost 1100 farms across the US and Canada - representing virtually every sector of organic agriculture. As the movement continues to grow, we have expanded our efforts to educate the public on the importance of soil stewardship, ethical animal husbandry and common sense transparency in label and certification claims through a weekly podcast, annual symposium and public events.

ROP and Naturland were jointly at Biofach America this September. Source: ROP

The joint venture between Naturland and Real Organic Project will create an opportunity for Naturland members to access the US market. In turn, this will give US consumers the opportunity to purchase globally sourced organic products with confidence in their integrity. Real Organic Project farmers will gain additional opportunities to work with processors and will also benefit from increased consumer recognition of the label as more products enter US stores that are certified by the joint venture.
The joint venture is in the process of hiring a managing director and will soon begin operations in the US - we look forward to seeing the enormous growth and impact Naturland and Real Organic Project will have collaborating in the US market.  


Image: ROP

Ariel Pressman is the Director of Certification at Real Organic Project. He previously spent 10 years as an organic vegetable farmer, including seven seasons running his certified organic farm, Seed to Seed, located in Wisconsin.

Header above: Team of ROP. Image: ROP

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