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Organic Center receives $5,000 matching grant for citrus greening research

Maggie McNeil
(
mmcneil@ota.com
(202) 403-8514
)
Washington , DC
US
 (
September 10, 2014
) — 

A new matching grant from RSF Social Financial to The Organic Center will help increase the impact of the public’s contribution to find organic solutions to the devastating citrus disease called citrus greening.

Current research for control of the disease focuses on toxic, bee-killing pesticides and GMOs; this funding supports important research for organic, holistic methods for fighting citrus greening. The public has been supporting research through The Organic Center’s crowdfunding campaign. Now, donations up to $5,000 will be matched by RSF Social Finance, doubling the public’s impact.

The Organic Center today announced it is receiving a $5,000 grant from RSF Social Finance to help fund a multi-year study on citrus greening disease, along with an offer from RSF of a one-to-one matching challenge for another $5,000.

“We are thrilled with and deeply appreciative of the generous support that RSF is providing for our important research on citrus greening,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. “We need to find organic solutions to help citrus growers fight this devastating disease, and the contributions from RSF, and other concerned donors, will move us closer to achieving that goal.”

The Organic Center (The Center) in July launched a major multi-year study to find organic methods to prevent and treat citrus greening, or Huanglongbing (HLB), without resorting to dangerous chemicals or genetic engineering. The Center established a target of $310,000 for its study. It is partnering with industry members, academics and other non-profits in its effort, and is sponsoring a social media campaign, #SaveOrganicCitrus, along with its crowdfunding drive.

A $45,000 grant from the UNFI Foundation laid the foundation for the drive. Some 40 individuals have donated to the effort, and ten corporate donors are generously supporting the project. In addition to UNFI, the corporate donors include Cal Organic, Caito Foods, Organically Grown Company, Ecosa Properties, Better Life Organics, Four Seasons Produce, Heath and Lejeune, Global Organics, and RSF Social Finance.

Citrus greening disease has destroyed millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad. Florida groves have been hit especially hard by the disease, but the insect that causes the disease has also been found in California and Texas. The bulk of research to control the disease, however, has focused on conventional strategies that have had only limited success in the short term, and are not allowed – and not an option – for organic growers.

“This research will help all citrus growers – organic and conventional, and it will keep citrus a safe and healthy food choice for millions of Americans,” said Shade.


The Organic Center's mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate the findings to the public. As an independent non-profit research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association, The Center envisions improved health for the environment and for people through the conversion of agriculture to organic methods.

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