Mark Lipson

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor


Mark recently began work at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor in the Office of the Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. His responsibilities include cross-agency coordination of organic farming policy issues and assisting the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative.
Since 1983 Mark has been a member of the Molino Creek Farming Collective, a cooperative multi-family organic farming community near Davenport (Santa Cruz County), California. At one time or another he has performed all the various roles of farm operations and management.
From 1995-2010, Mark was the Policy Program Director and Senior Policy Analyst for the Organic Farming Research Foundation. In 1997 he authored the seminal study “Searching for the ‘O-Word’” which documented the profound lack of USDA research support for organic farming systems. This work led to the creation by OFRF of the Scientific Congress for Organic Agricultural Research, a national network for producers and scientists pursuing the science of organic production and markets.
In the mid-1980s, Mark established the statewide office of California Certified Organic Farmers and led the development of many of the foundational aspects of organic certification systems. He played a key role in the passage and implementation of both the California Organic Foods Foods Act of 1990 and the U.S. Organic Foods Production Act.
From 1991-97 he was Chairman of the California Organic Foods Advisory Board. In 1992 he received the Steward of Sustainable Agriculture (“Sustie”) Award from the annual Ecological Farming Conference.
Mark received his B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1981 with honors from the Environmental Studies program, in the Planning and Public Policy concentration.


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