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Organic is Essential – CCOF’s 2020 Annual Report

by Kelly Damewood |

Dear CCOF members and supporters,

Every time I heard the term “essential” in 2020, it led me to think more deeply about how accurately the word describes the organic community. Of course, keeping families and communities fed with healthy, nutritious food despite whatever crises arise is essential. But organic is more than just essential for getting food on the table. Organic is essential for fighting climate change, helping our economy recover and become more resilient, and solving health inequities.*

In the early days of the pandemic, CCOF made it our mission to continue safely serving our certified members. Like many other businesses at the time, we quickly pivoted our in-person operations to comply with pandemic safety guidelines with one goal in mind: to continue providing our certified members and their teams with the gold standard in customer service, quick response times, and integrity in our certification decisions. Growing, making, and processing food doesn’t stop during a pandemic, and we are proud to have continued supporting the essential food and ag workers who fed our country during a crisis. While we work most directly with business owners, our effort to provide uninterrupted service to our members had the entire spectrum of food and ag workers in mind, acknowledging that during the pandemic, those with boots in the soil have needed all the support they can get.

We also doubled down on financially supporting organic businesses who needed help weathering such a difficult year. The CCOF Foundation’s Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund gave away more money than ever before: $88,000 to 40 organic farmers who will be able to stay in business. We also gave $500,000 to farmers transitioning their land to organic production, which means there will be over 100,000 more acres of organically managed land healing our planet and climate.

Learn more in our full 2020 Annual Report.

After a year of unthinkable challenges, I’m surprised to find myself filled with inspiration from all the ways the organic community got even more creative and determined in 2020. In 2021, we’re harnessing that energy to take on projects with bigger aspirations and to redefine and focus CCOF’s vision and goals. Keep an eye out for policy initiatives that get more organic foods into schools and hospitals, campaigns that tackle barriers in organic meat processing, new CCOF certifications for cannabis and grassfed meat, CCOF Foundation programs that transition even more land to organic, and more.

How will you help us sustain organic and all the essential ways it contributes to our communities and planet? What we’ve learned in 2020 is that we can do anything we set our minds to—together. Join your local CCOF chapter, get certified by CCOF, or send us a donation. This all starts with our membership and our supporters, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Many thanks,

Kelly Damewood


*If all of that sounds too good to be true, it’s not—just read our Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report at You’ll see the science behind all of the ways we, the organic community, are essential to healing and connecting our planet and our fellow human beings.