WASHINGTON July 8, 2014 – The Organic Center announced new plans to combat citrus greening with a $320,000 three-year study.
The Organic Center already received a $45,000 grant from the UNFI Foundation and hopes to raise $15,000 from an online funding initiative with 2 percent of that amount already obtained.
The project is a collaboration with Ben McLean of Uncle Matt's Organic and University of Florida entomologist Michael Rogers.
“Especially in this era of climate change, new pests and voracious diseases, organic agriculture deserves as much money for research as conventional agriculture,” said Melody Meyer, director of the UNFI Foundation and president of the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association.
The UNIF Foundation is concerned that citrus greening research is focused on conventional strategies that only have limited short-term success and that are not an option for organic citrus growers.
The campaign to save organic citrus is focused on determining the efficiency of organic pesticides, developing protocols for organic growers struggling with citrus greening and breeding organic trees naturally resistant to citrus greening.
Huanglongbing (HLB) known as citrus greening, is a harmful bacterial disease that has devastated millions of orange production acres in the U.S. The disease was first discovered in Florida in 2005 and is carried by the tiny Asian citrus psyllid. California is the leading state for organic citrus production.
The Organic Center is a Washington D.C. based non-profit group founded in 2002 to conduct and promote research that supports organic production. It is under the administration of the Organic Trade Association.
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