Blog posts by Kelly Damewood

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 Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, policy

Dear CCOF Members and Supporters, Each summer, we write to you to tell you about all the things you’ve helped CCOF accomplish in the previous year. As we sit down now to reflect on 2019—in the middle of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic—it almost feels like another lifetime ago with how much the world has changed in such a short time. But what we learned and achieved in 2019 can help us chart the path forward. We can’t know what healing and renewal for the world will look like after this crisis ends. But what I do know is that CCOF members will be there every step of the way to feed, nourish...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic


Black Lives Matter

Dear CCOF Family,  The unjust killing and systemic oppression of Black lives transcends politics—it speaks to the deepest core of our humanity.  We are deeply disturbed by the unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee. We understand that these are the most recent tragedies, and countless Black lives have been lost to racist violence in the United States.  Like all predominantly white communities, CCOF must grapple with its own role in systemic racism. Our agriculture and food systems are built on a history of racism,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 16, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

La oficina de CCOF en Santa Cruz, California, está temporalmente cerrada, con vigencia inmediata. El personal de CCOF seguirá trabajando desde sus hogares.De acuerdo con las recomendaciones de contención y cuarentena de la Enfermedad por Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) y el Departamento de Salud Pública de California, la oficina de CCOF en Santa Cruz, California, se cerrará de inmediato para ayudar a mantener nuestro personal y la comunidad a salvo del COVID-19. El personal trabajará desde casa mientras la oficina física está...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 16, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

The CCOF office in Santa Cruz, California is temporarily closed to the public, effective immediately. CCOF staff will still be working from their homes.In line with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) containment and quarantine recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health, the CCOF office in Santa Cruz, California will be closed to the public effective immediately to help keep our staff and community save from COVID-19.  Staff will be working from home while the physical office is closed to the public. Please note that...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 2, 2020 on CCOF, containers & hydroponics, general organic


The CCOF Board of Directors hosted a special discussion about hydroponic and container-based systems at their quarterly board meeting on February 18.  Background Over the last few years, disagreement has percolated throughout the organic community about hydroponic and container-based systems. Many organic producers feel frustrated that the National Organic Program (NOP) allows hydroponic operations to achieve certification because they believe that soil is essential to any organic production. Others feel that hydroponic systems for some types of crops and locations can be valuable parts of...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 21, 2019 on CCOF, general organic

My day starts with a bike ride along Santa Cruz's foggy coastline. At the CCOF home office, Erica and Lucia say hello as I walk my bike into our open office space. I pass the policy and marketing teams who joke with one another as they prepare for their morning meetings. I smile at the office dogs who look up to see if I might give them a little attention.   I put my bike away and note the pictures of smiling grantees from our Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. They stand in a colorful organic flower field at the University of California, Santa Cruz farm, which served as a training ground for...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 12, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, marketing


Dear CCOF Members and Supporters,It is with great pleasure and honor that I write to you as CCOF’s new CEO. Since assuming the role in January, I’ve been continually inspired by CCOF’s many accomplishments over 2018, which you helped make a reality. I’m no stranger to the strength of CCOF’s incredible membership of organic farmers, professionals, and supporters, and I’m excited to harness the power of this unique community to continue laying the path to an organic future.You helped us lay bricks in our organic path by enabling us to help 7,898 students and teachers get funding for organic...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, policy

One of the greatest challenges facing organic growers today is the uncertainty and severe shortages in the agricultural workforce. For this reason, CCOF is calling on California Congressional leadership to work toward immigration reform that includes the following guiding principles:  First and foremost, legislation should create a viable means for the current unauthorized, experienced agricultural workforce to legally work in U.S. agriculture.   Additionally, a guestworker program could also provide much needed support to help meet the current shortages in the agricultural workforce. The...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 11, 2017 on member news, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced awards to 12 CCOF-certified organic farms through the CDFA Healthy Soils Program.    The Healthy Soils Program is an incentives program that funds climate-smart farming practices, which are practices that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Demonstration program recipients will implement conservation practices and convene public events to share outcomes with the community.   For the 2017 grant cycle, CDFA awarded $5.23 million to 86 recipients, including 12 CCOF-certified farms. Awardees will...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 7, 2017 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s State Organic Program (SOP) is accepting public comments on a recent proposal to expand crop reporting requirements. Comments must be submitted no later than September 11, 2017.    Background   The SOP is a state-administered enforcement arm of the National Organic Program (NOP). It investigates complaints of fraud and monitors the organic marketplace to ensure a level playing field for certified organic operations. To assist in its duties, the SOP requires all organic producers to annually register with the state.   The proposed rule would...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, May 8, 2017 on general organic, genetic engineering, policy, research

In response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) recent GMO testing pilot project results, CCOF has expanded its GMO testing and will assist CDFA in identifying any potential source of inadvertent GMO presence along the organic supply chain. Following a request made by CCOF members at our Annual Meeting in 2015, and upon the recommendation of the California State Advisory Committee (COPAC), CDFA launched the GMO testing pilot project last year. The goal of the project is to evaluate the risk of GMO presence in organic products. On May 3, 2017, CDFA reported on the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The proposed organic check-off program is open for comment through March 20, 2017. CCOF members are strongly encouraged to comment. Comments should include any recommended improvements to the proposal as it is now published and whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) should move forward with putting the proposal to a nationwide referendum. About the Organic Check-off The proposed Organic Check-off program is projected to raise at least $30 million per year to fund organic research, technical assistance, and promotion of the organic brand. The funding would come from a...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

On January 18, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. CCOF strongly supports the rule because it requires high animal welfare standards, including sufficient outdoor access for poultry. The rule would make the standards that CCOF has always required of its certified operations applicable to all USDA organic producers. CCOF was one of the first organizations to call for more consistency in verifying that organic poultry have sufficient outdoor access. We are pleased that UDSA is bringing clarity for consumers,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on the proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, also known as a proposed organic check-off program. USDA will accept comments now through March 20, 2017. You may submit comments to www.regulations.gov, under docket number AMS-SC-16-0112. The proposed organic check-off program would be funded by organic producers. It would include a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods...

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