CCOF Blog

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 on general organic, inspection, regulatory

In 2019, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will begin conducting Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections on produce farms. In preparation for these inspections, CDFA is offering practice FSMA inspections, which CDFA refers to as On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRRs). Read the blog post below for more information.   While an OFRR is a practice inspection, it is important to note that CDFA inspectors are still required to report egregious food safety conditions that could lead to a public health issue if not immediately corrected. If an egregious condition is found...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers

Awe Sum Organics is an importer of organic produce from growers in the Southern Hemisphere. We specialize in the import of apples, kiwifruit, pears, grapes, citrus, and blueberries from countries such as New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Awe Sum Organics has been owned and operated in Santa Cruz, California since our founding in 1985.    Company President David Posner began selling organic produce at the inception of the organic movement, and since then Awe Sum Organics has been instrumental in establishing supply channels with organic produce growers in the Southern Hemisphere. As Awe...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 on biodiversity, education, general organic, grower, research

Ph.D. student Alejandra Echeverri is working in California’s central coast to understand how strawberry growers and managers of strawberry farming operations perceive birds on the farm.    Specifically, Echeverri hopes to conduct in-person surveys with strawberry growers or managers to understand which practices they are using to attract birds to or deter birds from their farms. She also is interested to find out whether they see some birds as beneficial or pests on their farms.   If you are an organic strawberry grower or a manager of a strawberry farming operation, please consider...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 28, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - FFA, future organic farmers


My plan for my FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project is to expand my organic beef herd. I now have two bred cows and two six-month-old calves, which run with my father's organic beef. I want to purchase a registered Black Angus bull to breed my Hereford cattle, which will give me the benefit of heterosis as I work towards an all crossbred commercial organic herd. My cattle are on grass all summer with salt and mineral blocks. They get certified organic ground corn and corn silage in the winter from an organic crop farm thirty miles away. Our farm is all organic and all pasture...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 21, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

USDA announced the termination of the rulemaking process for the national certified organic marketing order. The marketing order was commonly known as the organic check-off. USDA reported that the rulemaking process was terminated because of “uncertain industry support and outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program.”   The program was proposed by the Organic Trade Association in 2015 to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 21, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers

CCOF and the CCOF Foundation are cornerstones of Wild Roots Market. Back in the 1990s, our owners and management team realized that if we wanted to continue to provide our customers with the most wholesome, organic, and locally sourced foods available, we needed to partner with CCOF. CCOF’s commitment to the organic movement and certification services allowed Wild Roots (formerly New Leaf) to become the first certified organic retailer in the United States in the year 2000.    By providing input on the organic standards adopted by the USDA and by certifying farmers, suppliers, and retailers...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 21, 2018 on CCOF, education, events, food safety, general organic, grower, pests and pesticides

Organic Grower Summit December 12-13, 2018 at the Monterey Conference Center   The Organic Grower Summit (OGS) has announced Western Growers will again serve as the Ag Technology sponsor for this year’s event. As the Ag Technology sponsor, Western Growers will help coordinate the attendance of technology companies as exhibitors, and help facilitate elements of the technology area at the event.    To date, OGS has secured over 45 committed exhibitors and 35 sponsoring companies.   Among participating exhibitors are leaders in the fields of seed, soil amendments, food safety, and ag technology...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 21, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - FFA, future organic farmers


I plan to begin an FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project raising organic vegetables. I work for a produce grower who attends farmers’ markets and I have seen how well organically produced vegetables sell. I selected a 100'x60' area at my parent's home for my organic garden. I know a lot about growing vegetables because of my employment and they have agreed to let me sell my produce at their seven farmers’ market locations. I will continue to gain farming experience by working with my current employer and I will have the support of my FFA advisor and grandparents, all of which...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 14, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, farmers markets, general organic, organic market


Are your customers confused about what organic means? Order a complimentary batch of the 2018 “Why Buy Certified Organic?” postcards today! The cards include information for consumers about what organic means and why it’s important to buy organic products.   In 2017, Fresno Commons, “a for-profit corporation and non-profit land trust, working to grow vibrant, community-owned local food system in the Fresno and San Joaquin Valley,” ordered cards to include in their CSA boxes to help educate their customers about the benefits of buying organic.    The CCOF Foundation sends thousands of “Why Buy...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, May 14, 2018 on farmers markets, general organic


Urban development of agricultural land is one of the biggest obstacles facing future farmers. Agriculture professionals found property much easier to find 20 years ago, when farmland was abundant, but today, as less agricultural land becomes available, the high cost of limited supply scares away budding potential farmers. One of the hardest parts of getting an organic farming business up and running now is not cost of labor, lack of consumers, or inability to find wholesale buyers for crops: it’s finding a place to start planting. Fortunately, Spade & Plow Organics was able to secure...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 14, 2018 on general organic

Television celebrity Dr. Oz hosted “the biggest names in the organic food industry” on a recent episode of his show that addressed consumer concerns about organic integrity.   Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association Laura Batcha was joined by Jill McIntosh of Kroger and Regina Beidler, an organic dairy farmer with the Organic Valley cooperative, to explain the rigor of organic standards and enforcement.   Batcha emphasized that “fraud is very rare in organic” and explained that the organic industry has actually gone to Congress to request additional regulation by USDA...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 14, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


For Sierra Torres, growing up in a single parent household in New Orleans, a city where fresh food was not always accessible, it was not uncommon for the only vegetables on her family’s plates to be canned. Even though Torres has many fond childhood memories of her mother taking her out to her garden where she grew an assortment of flowers, herbs, and vegetables traditional to our home, it didn’t change the fact that, with her mother working long shifts at the hospital, there was little time and money to cook healthy meals with fresh vegetables. Yet this never stopped Torres from wanting to...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic

Join the CCOF Foundation this spring for a series of webinars geared toward the financial side of farming.   In our first webinar, Financial Planning 101 on May 23, Brett Melone from California FarmLink will delve into the details of cash flow management, business structures, and risk management tools to assist farmers in cultivating a financially sound farm business.   Our second webinar, Accessing Crop Insurance on June 19, explores new crop insurance options available to organic and diversified farms. Combined with the financial tools presented in the first webinar, crop insurance can help...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on general organic, Non-GMO & More seal, standards

USDA is accepting comments on the proposed rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The standard was mandated by Congress in 2016 to require food manufacturers and other food labeling entities to disclose information about bioengineered foods and bioengineered ingredients.   USDA is using the term “bioengineered” for what are commonly known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are banned in organic production.    Comments will be accepted until July 3, 2018 via regulations.gov or by mail to Docket Clerk, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 4543-South,...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on general organic, materials and inputs, standards

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a proposed rule to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The proposed rule is based on public input and recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).   AMS will accept public comments on the proposed rule until June 29, 2018. Comments can be submitted via regulations.gov.    At their Fall 2017 meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended that AMS add elemental sulfur to the National List to treat livestock and livestock housing. Elemental...

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