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Meet Organic Transition Grantee Franz Eilers

by Hanali Lopez-Tapia |

The CCOF Foundation supports farmers making the transition to certified organic agriculture practices because we know that organic production is a proven solution to climate change, economic insecurity, and health inequities. We are giving $10,000 per year for the three-year transition for a total of $30,000. The CCOF Foundation Organic Transition Program (OTP) is accepting applications July 8 through August 2, 2024.

Franz Eilers, an Organic Transition Program grantee, is a sixth-generation farmer with over 40 years of experience farming on his family’s land. Farming called his name at a young age. Even when his family encouraged him to search for additional interests, he was always drawn to his family’s farm, Heartwood Farms, formerly John Eilers Farms. Eilers, along with a few partners, is now farming tree nuts and tree fruit. Their goal is to transition 40 acres to organic, with the support of the Organic Transition Program. Eilers emphasizes, “This grant is really something; it encourages us to keep going. In addition, many grants are complicated, but the experience with this ​grant has been wonderfully straightforward and [has allowed] us to use the funds as we feel ​it best meets the mission of the grant to help us transition acreage.”

Farmers like Eilers transition their land over a three-year period in order to become certified organic. During their time in the Organic Transition Program, they’re learning new farming techniques, creating new systems for their businesses, and cultivating new markets for their soon-to-be-certified organic products. While Franz’s family previously farmed the land using organic methods, Franz Eliers and his partners are now making the official transition to certified organic. Eilers notes, “I am so proud and grateful for my grandfather and father’s labors to leave behind a strong legacy and healthy farm organism I now nurture … I am optimistic in thinking forward, with new ideas and help from grants like this, that we can define ourselves from the larger market we are currently dependent upon.” Eilers and other OTP participants receive mentorship and technical support in agronomy, business and financial literacy, and marketing techniques over the course of the program.

The CCOF Foundation is proud to support farmers like Franz Eilers who are continuously seeking new ways to advance organic agriculture. The Organic Transition Program grant supports farmers and ranchers in California who have a passion for organic agriculture and wish to pursue organic certification.

Applications for the Organic Transition Program grant will open July 8, 2024, and close August 2, 2024.

Visit our website for more information.

Please contact Larissa Hernandez at or (831) 346-6324 or Hanali Lopez-Tapia at (831) 824-6123 with any questions or for support.

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