National Organic Coalition

By: Co+op

Have you ever wondered who works to ensure that federal policies reflect the interests of all the good folks who love organic food? One answer is the National Organic Coalition, or NOC.

In 2003, a diverse group of farmers, progressive businesses, consumer advocates and environmental non-profits came together to form NOC. They all shared one thing in common:  a commitment to organic integrity.

For these passionate champions of organic, “organic integrity” means strong, enforceable, and continuously improved standards that maximize the many health, environmental, and economic benefits of organic farming.

NOC envisions an organic future—one where organic farming methods are established as the foundation for all food production in the U.S. Just imagine, someday all the food grown on American soil could be organic! With that goal in mind, these are some of the areas that NOC works to influence:

USDA National Organic Program

This federal program provides the framework that regulates USDA certified organic food.

National Organic Standards Board

This advisory board makes recommendations to USDA regarding organic food, including a list of substances that are allowed for use in organics.

The Farm Bill

This piece of federal legislation determines food and farm policy for the whole country, five years at a time. While the bill typically favors conventional agricultural interests, organic programs are gaining ground. 

When it comes to federal policy making, showing up and speaking out is key. That’s why NOC members testify at federal government hearings and agency meetings, ensuring that the interests of the organic community can be heard.

Over the past decade, NOC has become increasingly well-known and well-respected, which affords the organic community improved access to federal policy makers. Today, NOC provides a powerful voice for diverse organizations within the organic community, including food co-ops.

How do food co-ops participate in NOC?

The interests of food co-ops are represented through membership in National Co+op Grocers (NCG). NCG, the organization behind, is a co-founder and active member of NOC. To learn more about NOC, visit