A new matching grant in the amount of $5,000 from RSF Social Financial (San Francisco, CA) to The Organic Center (Washington, D.C.) 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, according to RSF. The public has been supporting research through The Organic Center's crowdfunding campaign.
The Organic Center announced it is receiving the 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."
In July, the Center launched a major multiyear study to find organic methods to prevent and treat citrus greening, or Huanglongbing (HLB), without resorting to dangerous chemicals or genetic engineering and 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.
Citrus greening disease has destroyed millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad, reported RSF, noting 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.
A $45,000 grant from the UNFI Foundation laid the foundation for the drive along with 40 individuals and corporate donors including Cal Organic, Caito Foods, Organically Grown Company, Ecosa Properties, Better Life Organics, Four Seasons Produce, Heath and Lejeune, Global Organics and RSF Social Finance.
For more information, visit www.organic-center.org