The CCOF Foundation Can Make it Easier for Organic Producers to Survive

Left photo: Me, spending my Saturday mornings selling our produce at the Davis Farmers’ Market. My parents and fellow graduate students founded the market in 1976. Right photo: My parents, Kathleen Barsotti and Martin Barnes, strolling the farm. They were early visionaries of an organic revolution.
 
When I was a kid in the mid-1980s, my parents, my brothers, and I would wake up before dawn on Saturday morning, load the blue van with whatever seasonal produce we had harvested the day before, and head to the Davis Farmers’ Market. During the summers we grew amazing melons, and our dad taught us to cut up melon samples and hand them out to market customers. He had us wait for the comments on how good they tasted, then tell them the product was “organic.” When they asked what that meant, we’d tell them, “They are grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.” It was an amazing way to generate five-dollar bill after five-dollar bill while educating the public about a better way to farm. 
 
Today, organic is a common household term, thanks to the hard work of the entire community of farmers and customers who pioneered the organic foods movement. Decades have passed since the early days of organic and much has changed, but from the beginning and through all the transformations, CCOF has been and remains a well-respected and key player in the promotion of organic.  
 
Our farm was founded in 1976 on organic principles. We were the second farm in Yolo County to be certified organic, and today we are the oldest certified organic farm in Yolo County. Through it all our certifier has remained the same: CCOF. 
 
In the early 2000s my brothers and I inherited the family farm, Capay Organic, from our mother. Today we are proud to be second generation organic farmers, and I am grateful to be able to give time to CCOF as a member of the Board of Directors and supporter of the CCOF Foundation.
 
I am writing you today to ask that you join me in making a gift to the CCOF Foundation. The Foundation not only supports today’s farmers and producers with training, hardship assistance, and resources, but also looks to the future, expanding opportunities for new organic production and working with state and federal regulators and legislators to even the playing field for organic.
 
Being part of the CCOF Foundation has meant a lot to me. Knowing that some of the best minds in the organic field are focused on our equity, safety-net, and growth for the future brings me hope. I know how challenging it is to run an organic farm, and I also know how important it is to take time to invest in this industry. Please join me in supporting the CCOF Foundation. CCOF can make it easier for organic producers to survive—it is hard to put a price on that.
 
Wishing you a happy holiday season and success in the New Year. 
 
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This blog was written by Thaddeus Barsotti, CCOF Board of Directors member and co-owner of Capay Organic. Barsotti works to grow a better food system through his own farm and connection to farm partners. As a well-spoken and passionate advocate for local and sustainable food systems, he shares his farm experiences with CSA members in a weekly farm news, leads classes for future farmers, participates in panels and conferences, and speaks with the media as an industry expert on the progressive change in our food system. Barsotti and his wife Moyra, who also works in the family company, have three children, Lola, Lucca, and Julien.
 

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