CCOF Blog

Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, March 8, 2021 on education


The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) new Farm to School Grant Program, released in January 2021, brings welcome news to organic fields and public school lunchrooms alike. With a declared purpose of encouraging schools to buy from small and medium-sized farms, farms using climate-smart practices, and from Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color, this program does more than just feed children: it seeks to ensure their futures are resilient and equitable.The program recognizes that organic, transitioning to organic, and certified 100 percent grassfed...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 8, 2021 on statistics

This year's California Agricultural Statistics Review, released annually by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), includes statewide organic data, an addition to the report first made last year.According to CDFA records collected from the State Organic Program, organic farmgate sales in 2019 totaled $10.4 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over 2018 organic sales.A closer look at the data shows that crop, feed, and fiber producers had the largest increase in sales, up 12.4 percent from 2018. Handler sales increased by only 1.5 percent between 2018 and 2019, while organic...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 8, 2021 on conservation


The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address high-priority concerns around natural resources. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance–the higher the performance, the higher the payment. The 2021 CSP application deadline is March 26, 2021.Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners expand stewardship activities and receive payments for both their existing conservation...
Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, March 1, 2021 on advocacy, livestock, policy


In today’s world, pet goats participate in yoga classes, apartment building walls bear signs advertising “Farm Fresh Eggs,” and the consumer appetite for organic meat and dairy is skyrocketing. Despite this popular sentiment, a lack of investment in regional meat supply chains threatens the future of regional, organic, and regenerative ranching.California’s farmers and their four-legged flocks face severe and longstanding bottlenecks in the final steps along the meat supply chain from ranch to roast: slaughter, cut and wrap, and value-added processing. In the last 50 years, California has...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 1, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, education


collaboration

In my last blog, Delegating Responsibilities to Lighten Your Workload, I discussed strategies for handing off tasks to employees to allow for personal time or exciting work projects.With my extra time, I like to cultivate creative collaborations with other food businesses. These mutually beneficial relationships increase marketing exposure and income for both businesses.Typically, these collaborations arise organically. For instance, I have excess blueberries, and a fellow business owner who I know from the farmers' market makes a product that can utilize blueberries.Benefits of...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, February 22, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, future organic farmers


David Robles

Last Thursday, February 18, CCOF held its first fully virtual annual meeting, Cultivate and Nourish. While we look forward to being together again soon, holding this event virtually allowed for unprecedented attendance and participation. Farmers, ranchers, and producers who typically lack time to attend conferences were able to log in from the comfort of their homes and hear directly from CCOF’s CEO Kelly Damewood and CCOF Board Chair Phil LaRocca.David Robles, program manager for food justice organization Food, What?! and former participant in CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Famer program,...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, February 22, 2021 on CCOF Foundation


Rustic Canyon Family

PHOTO: Josh Loeb & Zoe Nathan, by Rick PoonThe CCOF Foundation is thrilled to announce its newest Visionary-level supporter, the Rustic Canyon Family. This independent restaurant group in Santa Monica, California, features a variety of neighborhood dining destinations in partnership with talented and award-winning leaders in food and wine. Learn more about the family at their website.  Since the 2006 opening of farmers’-market-driven and Michelin-starred Rustic Canyon, the family has expanded to include Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Sweet Rose Creamery, Milo & Olive, Cassia, Esters...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, education, organic training institute


CCOF now has a YouTube channel! If you are curious to learn how to run a socially distanced drive-through farm stand, get the latest on sustainable produce packaging, or find out what it takes for an organic farmer to get certified as Biodynamic, search no further than CCOF’s YouTube channel.The channel hosts all of the CCOF Foundation’s previous webinars, including topics on organic recordkeeping, food safety for produce growers, and farm business management.Subscribe to the channel to get the latest information on timely topics for organic producers.
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on education, grower

As regional agricultural orders mandate more rigorous nutrient and irrigation management, fine-tuning nitrogen applications is an increasingly important skill for organic growers.To help address this challenge, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists are offering a three-part online workshop, Practical Training on Nitrogen Management in Organic Production of Vegetables and Strawberries, which will be held the first three Tuesdays in March from 9-11 a.m.Over the three sessions, experts will discuss sources of nitrogen and their roles in organic soil fertility and the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on advocacy, food safety, grower

When it comes to U.S. agriculture regulations, one size does not fit all. That was the message that Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and thousands of family farmers delivered ten years ago when the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began hashing out the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Had it not been for that advocacy, FSMA would likely have regulated small family farms the same way it regulates larger corporate growers, and would have buried small farms beneath paperwork.FDA needs to hear the message again. Speak up by February 22!The FDA is again proposing...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on education, grower

An Organic Agriculture Seminar Series for Growers is offered via Zoom on Tuesdays from 12-1 p.m., now through May 4.University of California Cooperative Extension Small Farms and organic advisor Margaret Lloyd have organized the series aimed at providing useful information on organic topics for growers.Each seminar features a guest speaker and a group conversation with questions from the audience. No pre-registration is required. The Zoom meeting link is the same each week.The series began on January 26 of this year with a talk on biochar. Recordings of past seminars, written summaries, and...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, February 8, 2021 on CCOF, CCOF Foundation, events


AC 2021

CCOF invites you to enjoy a meal of farmer and poet David Robles’ Enchiladas Placeras at our upcoming annual conference Cultivate & Nourish! Get the recipe and follow along below to learn how David cooks the enchiladas.At Cultivate & Nourish, Robles will join us live from the kitchen and share how the organic family can rebuild our food system for an equitable and healthy future while he creates an organic meal to nourish the body and soul.Register today to join the conversation on February 18!Robles is a passionate young leader in organic farming whose inspiration and drive will...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 8, 2021 on CCOF Foundation

In my last blog article, Striking a Balance: A Recipe to Become a Happier Farmer, I wrote in depth about how I reflect on the past season in an effort to make time for personal activities, improve my business, and keep my interest and passion in farming. This week, we take a closer look at staffing and how to delegate responsibilities to lighten your workload.As your business grows, so do your responsibilities. During your first year of farming, you likely fulfilled every role­: business planner, farm laborer, marketer, and administrator. This makes sense when you start small and are getting...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 8, 2021 on grower, research

University of California, Davis wants to hear from California dried fruit processors.California is a major producer of dried fruits, and we at UC Davis want to support the production of high-quality dried products. A team of researchers in the Food Science and Technology Department is interested in developing guidance on the best practices to ensure the safety and quality of dried California specialty crops.To support our California dried fruit producers, we need information on the most common industry practices currently being employed for dehydrating. Do you sun dry or use a mechanical...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 1, 2021 on advocacy, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be holding stakeholder meetings in February to solicit feedback from the public and agricultural stakeholders on farmer- and rancher-led climate solutions that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and enhance biodiversity.“These outreach meetings are essential to ensure we gain information and knowledge from the people who live and work on the land and the organizations that support them,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We want to hear from all those interested in discussing farmer- and rancher-led efforts to help ensure...

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