It’s the start of a new year, and CCOF has set a bold, new goal for organic: Thirty percent of California’s farmland will be organic by 2030. We know it will take hard work to get there, but that’s nothing new for organic farmers. Here’s the plan for moving forward in 2021.
Expand Opportunities for Small Organic Ranchers
In partnership with ranchers, policymakers, and farm and environmental groups, CCOF is working to create economic opportunities for small organic ranches. Expanding on-farm slaughter options for small ranches raising goats, sheep, and swine will strengthen these businesses and protect rangeland and pasture.
In addition, creating new local market opportunities for ranchers builds community wealth. A study of the Sacramento region found that local farm sales generated twice as much economic stimulus and three times as many jobs as nonlocal sales.
Support the Transition to Organic
Transitioning more land to organic is a key climate strategy. Studies–including those conducted by the University of California, Davis researchers–consistently find that organic farming builds healthy soils that store carbon and lower net greenhouse gas emissions.
CCOF is advocating for support for farmers transitioning to organic and for funds to incentivize organic farming practices. The three-year transition period to become organic is a barrier. While farmers are purging their soils of synthetic inputs they do not receive the certified organic price premium. Investing in technical assistance to support farmers during the transition can make going organic a possibility for more farmers.
Invest in Organic School Meals
Organic school meals provide a key opportunity to increase children’s access to healthy foods and to reduce preventable diet-related diseases. More than half of California’s children rely on school lunch for 35 to 50 percent of their daily calorie needs. With more organic food in their school meals, children will benefit from eating highly nutritious food free of synthetic pesticides and food processing additives.
CCOF is looking to expand opportunities for organic farmers by bringing organic foods to school cafeterias. The Farm-to-School program prioritizes funding for schools that partner with farms that are organic or transitioning to organic and with certified grassfed ranchers. CCOF will continue to work with state leaders to find new regional markets for organic foods.
Inspired to help us put these goals into action? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
PHOTO by Liz Birnbaum