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Ryan-Busch, Janette, 1955-



  • Existence: 1955-

Organic farmer and activist Janette Garrels Ryan-Busch was born on a farm in Henry County north of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 1955 to Ova Garrels, a bookkeeper, and De Wayne Garrels, a farmer and grain elevator and feed dealer. Janette Garrels graduated from Mt. Pleasant High in 1974 married Tom Ryan the same year. The couple had two children: Ira in 1976 and Dustin in 1978. The Ryans were divorced, and Janette Ryan moved with her sons to southern Indiana in 1981. She returned to Iowa in 1983 and married David Busch. The Ryan-Busch family purchased Fae Ridge Farm, just north of Iowa City, in 1985 where Janette Ryan-Busch raises angora goats to sell their mohair. She also supports herself and her family by growing and marketing herbs, flowers, and garden produce in the Johnson County area. She developed an apprenticeship program in 1997, and Fae Ridge Farm has also been a training site for youth from the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County. In 1994, Ryan-Busch joined neighbors and anti-sprawl activists in protesting the rezoning and sale of neighboring farm land for a large residential development project.

Ryan-Busch has been active on several advisory committees charged with establishing legal standards for the production of food products labeled "organic." As consumer demand for organic foods grew in the 1980s, organic growers were concerned that the term "organic" would become, like the word "natural," a meaningless description used to market food products. Growers, therefore, formed state and national organizations to write legislation defining the legal meaning of the word "organic." Iowa was a leader in this endeavor. Ryan-Busch was a member of the rules-making committee for Iowa House Bill 190B (1989) which defined organic certification in Iowa. She was also a member of the rules-making committee, the livestock committee and the fruit and vegetable sub-committee for state Bill 190C, which established the state of Iowa as an organic certifying agency. In 1990, Congress included the Organic Food Act of 1990 (Senate Bill 2830) in the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. Ryan-Busch was involved with commenting on this bill and advising the United States Department of Agriculture as it wrote the regulations called for in the bill. The USDA announced the rules that would govern organic production at the national level in 2000.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Janette Ryan-Busch papers

Identifier: IWA0675
Abstract Organic farmer and activist from Johnson County, Iowa.