Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
M.S.Organic Agsystems Consulting, Eugene, Oregon, 97405 USA
In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA)which mandated development of national standards for the production of organic foods. This poster presents the continuing development of an evaluation system designed to assist the Technical Advisory Panel of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board in their effort to develop a National List of materials which are appropriate for use on organic farms. The evaluation system provides a systematic approach to the assessment process and structures the daunting amount of information needed to satisfy the requirements in the OFPA. It's precepts are also firmly rooted in the principles and values which have underpinned organic agriculture for decades.
Design of the evaluation system encompassed three interrelated activities: the development of an Environmental Impact Assessment methodology, the collection of the data required for shaping evaluation criteria and for fueling the evaluations, and the creation of a prototype expert system computer program to support the decision making process. The program, called Organic Expert, provides a tool for development of evaluation criteria which employs a graphic interface for easy use. It evaluates materials by comparing data about the characteristics of amaterial against the evaluation criteria related to a wide array of agroecosystem and socioeconomic factors and uses a system of weighted values to produce a final rating for the product. The results of the evaluation are reported at three different levels of detail.