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Elizabeth Whitlow, Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, discusses the recently launched Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) for farms, food, beverage, and apparel products. Integrating three key pillars: soil health, animal welfare, and farm worker fairness, the ROC is the most comprehensive and holistic third party certification available.
The ROC was established through a collaborative effort by Dr. Bronner’s, Patagonia, and the Rodale Institute, all three of which are at the forefront of the global regenerative movement (see episodes #111, #89, #70, #69, and #63 for more information). Acknowledging that “What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves,” and the ancient Hippocratic maxim, “Let food be thy medicine,” Elizabeth discusses the connection between soil health and well-being, and the converse, soil-toxicity and disease (including diabetes, heart disease, and myriad cancers). She also acknowledges the foundational contributions of George Washington Carver to the contemporary regenerative organic movement.
Elizabeth Whitlow’s role as the Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA) is the culmination of over 20 years working for systemic change in agriculture systems. Whitlow began her career as an advocate for shade-grown, fair-trade, and organic coffee growers in Central America. Since then, she has worked across the spectrum of elevated certifications, both in farming and ranching. She is now leading the charge for regenerative organic agriculture, managing the holistic and high-bar Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC™) standard. The ROC is the North Star of certifications, building upon the USDA Organic label through the pillars of soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. She resides in Sonoma County, California tending to her micro-farm and an array of animals, promoting community-driven, local food systems.
Regenerating the living crust of the Earth has been Elizabeth Whitlow’s mission since she was first exposed in the 1990s to the harmful practices of industrial agriculture and the power of building thriving food systems. Thus, began the long journey of examining the deeper systemic policies of agriculture and advocating for programs that reward holistic farmers. Now, as the Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, Elizabeth is overseeing the launch of a revolutionary certification program, Regenerative Organic Certified.