Blog posts by general organic

Response times may be slow due to the wildfires affecting Santa Cruz County and Covid-19. Organic compliance deadlines and inspections will be delayed for businesses affected by these crises. Read the latest updates on the Northern California wildfires, and visit our Covid-19 webpage to find pandemic-specific information »

Los tiempos de respuesta serán lentos debido a los incendios forestales afectando al condado de Santa Cruz y COVID-19. Los plazos de cumplimiento orgánico y las inspecciones se retrasarán para los negocios afectados por estas crisis.  Lea las últimas actualizaciones sobre los incendios forestales del norte de California y visite nuestra página web de Covid-19 para encontrar información específica a la pandemia »

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 21, 2020 on education, general organic

OFRF’s free beginning farmer training program for organic specialty crop farmers in California is now available. This online training program is for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production. While it was developed for California specialty crop farmers, the content is based on foundational principles that are relevant to all organic farmers and our hope is that growers across the United States find it to be a useful resource.  The program contains six learning modules: 1) soil health, 2) weed management, 3) irrigation and water management, 4...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 21, 2020 on crisis resilience, general organic

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced that the counties of Kings, Riverside and Tulare will participate in Housing for the Harvest, a program announced by Governor Gavin Newsom in July to provide temporary hotel housing options for farm and food processing employees to self-isolate if they are COVID-19 positive and do not require hospitalization, or have been exposed and cannot properly self-isolate at home. Six counties are now participating in Housing for the Harvest: Kings, Riverside, Tulare, Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Joaquin. The state is securing...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 21, 2020 on crisis resilience, general organic

El Departamento de Alimentos y Agricultura de California (CDFA) anunció hoy que los condados de Kings, Riverside y Tulare participarán en Housing for the Harvest, un programa anunciado por el gobernador Gavin Newsom en julio para brindar opciones de alojamiento temporal en hoteles. para que los empleados de granjas y procesamiento de alimentos se autoaislen si son COVID-19 positivos y no requieren hospitalización, o han estado expuestos y no pueden aislarse adecuadamente en casa. Seis condados participan ahora en Housing for the Harvest: Kings, Riverside, Tulare, Santa Barbara, Fresno y San...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 21, 2020 on general organic, NOP, NOSB, policy

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their virtual fall meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, are approaching! We encourage members of the organic community to submit public comments on the substances up for re-listing or removal from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances and the other NOSB agenda items. Read NOSB's meeting materials (discussion documents, petitions, proposals, and Sunset Reviews). Handling Substances:KaolinSodium bicarbonateWaxes - nonsynthetic (Wood resin)Ammonium bicarbonate -...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 21, 2020 on education, general organic, pests and pesticides, survey

Going directly to those hurt most by the devastating citrus greening disease, researchers are asking organic citrus growers and other organic stakeholders to help them develop a holistic research program in their fight against the ruinous disease. Citrus greening disease has been decimating domestic citrus in the United States over the past decade, and organic growers have been hit especially hard with few effective tools to control the disease. A research team led by the University of Florida is collaborating with The Organic Center; University of California, Riverside; a number of organic...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 on CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic


Transition

It’s not always easy to transition to certified organic, and we don’t expect farmers to do it alone. That’s why we’ve partnered with Anheuser Busch and their Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Contract for Change program to provide financial support during the critical phase of becoming organic. The CCOF Foundation also offers a wealth of educational opportunities through our Organic Training Institute. Want to take your farm forward and transition to organic? Maybe you’re already practicing organic methods and needed that final incentive to get certified. Now is your chance to lessen the financial...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic


Resilience

Dear CCOF Family,2020 has been a wild ride. A national pandemic, a looming recession, a racial injustice reckoning, and now unprecedented wildfires sweeping through CCOF’s hometown of Santa Cruz, California and across Northern California.  But, despite it all, CCOF is stronger than ever before. We implemented successful emergency preparedness strategies, including securing our company and member data to ensure as little interruption in services as possible. Additionally, our skilled remote workforce ensures stability when staff and members experience geographic-specific natural disasters.We...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on general organic, NOP, policy

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) released an official proposed rule for Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE). The proposed changes will constitute the most significant changes to organic regulations since the creation of the NOP.  Among other changes, the proposed rule will:Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United StatesClarify NOP oversight of certification activities, including that NOP oversight extends to the actions of any person...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on advocacy, financial assistance, general organic

California state legislative leaders and California Governor Gavin Newsom are considering how the state can assist communities in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. As these conversations get underway, it is essential to promote food and agriculture as solutions to economic recovery. One of the ways the state can easily invest in California agriculture is through CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program. The program has been increasingly popular with the state’s farmers and ranchers, including organic farmers and ranchers. The Healthy Soils Program turns farm-based climate solutions into rural...
Written by Rebekah Weber on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, cost share, general organic, policy

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that they are reducing reimbursement rates for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Congress set the current reimbursement rates in the 2018 Farm Bill at 75 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $750 per scope. FSA plans to lower the rate to 50 percent of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope. This reduction comes in the middle of a global crisis, at a time when it is critical to support our organic farms as essential to our recovery. Take action to save the Organic Certification...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, policy

Numerous scientific studies show that organic farming improves soil health and builds soil organic matter, which sequesters carbon in the soil and helps mitigate climate change.  This makes organic farming a good match for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Healthy Soils Program, which offers three-year grants to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  CCOF has been working since last year to gain approval from CDFA to add an Organic Transition Option to the Healthy Soils...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

CCOF Central Coast Chapter President Javier Zamora of JSM Organics was one of the featured panelists in the Climate of Hope Online Forum organized by Regeneración Pajaro Valley Climate Action, a climate justice organization based in Watsonville, California.  The Climate of Hope forum gathered experts to discuss how climate change is affecting agricultural communities, with a focus on farmworkers in the Central Coast’s Pajaro Valley.  California State University, Monterey Bay students presented the results of a community survey on climate change sponsored by Regeneración which found “the...
Written by Jane Wade on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on CCOF, general organic

Have you ever been asked to make organic products? During these uncertain times it can be hard to envision change, but this might be the perfect time to consider adding organic products to your line. With the expanding consumer demand for organic products, brand owners are looking for co-packers to make their products and retailers are looking for organic versions of existing products.  The USDA organic regulations are not as complicated as they may seem. If you have a HAACP plan, SSOP, allergen control plan, or other traceability system, you already have the structure you need to handle...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on general organic

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model has seen a resurgence since COVID-19. This mutually beneficial relationship provides the community with fresh harvested produce each week, supports the farmer with funds at the beginning of the season for growing their crops to harvest, and gives farmers the peace of mind knowing their crops are sold. The traditional CSA model requires the customer to pay in advance for a “share” in the farmer’s crops, over a period of 4 weeks, 12 weeks, or the full season.  During the pandemic, a CSA can be a good way to connect with your customers and be a...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, grower

A new technical but approachable guide developed by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) offers small- and medium-scale organic growers valuable information on organic and sustainable seedling production. The 20-page guide describes how to effectively and efficiently grow vegetable and flower seedlings for organic operations using environmentally responsible practices. It offers an overview of greenhouse structures and basic cultural requirements and environmental management techniques to optimize germination and...

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