CCOF Blog

Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, December 7, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, events

Join us for California FarmLink and CCOF’s Organic Elders and the Next Generation: Planning for Succession Conference An EcoFarm Pre-Conference: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA In 2016 California FarmLink and CCOF are launching the Organic Elders and the Next Generation Project. Together with organic industry partners, our organizations are planning a multi-year campaign to create farmland and business succession strategies for the agrarian elder-founders of California's organic agriculture movement, while also helping young...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, December 7, 2015 on advocacy, policy, research, seeds

It is a challenge for organic growers in California to find seed varieties that perform well in organic conditions, due to the fact that most plant breeding has been done for conventional production. This need for organic-specific vegetable varieties is being addressed by a new organic plant breeding project at the University of California, Davis, funded by a federal Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant. The project will focus on developing organic tomato, bean, and pepper varieties. Cultivars will be developed on CCOF-certified organic land at UC Davis’s student farm. The plan is...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 30, 2015 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, State Organic Program

Since the implementation of the national organic standards in 2002, CCOF members have expressed concerns that the California State Organic Program (SOP) duplicates the fee and reporting requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In response to these concerns, CCOF wrote a comprehensive report in 2015 titled Review of the California State Organic Program. About the Report CCOF wrote the Review of the California State Organic Program in collaboration with an advisory committee to ensure input from a range of stakeholders, including organic producers, policy experts, and public...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 30, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Sunyoung Yang University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Apprenticeship – California Sunyoung Yang is a 33 year old Korean woman who became politicized around global and ecological justice issues from indigenous farmers in Latin America. She worked on policy advocacy that intersects civil rights, transportation justice, environmental justice, and climate change work in Los Angeles, nationally, and internationally including on the UN level. Much of her inspiration to become a farmer and work with farmers around the world came from this initial...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 23, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and University of California Cooperative Extension are hosting a meeting on the invasive stinkbug Bagrada bug on Friday, December 11 at the Cooperative Extension office in Salinas from 9:30 a.m – 3 p.m. Click here to register for the meeting. The meeting is free of charge and will include lunch for onsite participants courtesy of CCOF and the University of California Cooperative Extension Entomology Program. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, allowing remote participants the ability to hear all presentations and interact...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, November 23, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States. Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation? The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings. For a run-down on the Produce Safety Rule and organic operations, see the Organic Trade Association’s response...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 23, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Jessica Wong California Farm Academy, Beginning Farmer Training Program – California Jessica Wong grew up in San Francisco and then moved to Berkeley for college, and as such had very little experience with farming and dirt until recently. At Berkeley she became interested in insects, which turned into an interest in integrated pest management and biological control, which turned into an interest in agroecology. This all influenced her decision to learn more about farming practices and food systems, and it was then that her passion for farming was sparked. She is currently participating in...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 on marketing, research

As organic researchers, we are very excited about the prospect of organic check-off funds going towards supporting research to help us address U.S. organic farmers’ most pressing needs to increase production of organic food, feed and fiber. For years, we have fought the federal government and our state universities for every organic research dollar. Traditionally, organic research has been woefully underfunded. Unfortunately, this lack of funding has a real impact on organic producers, and translates into a lack of methods and tools useful for current organic farmers and reduced support for...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 16, 2015 on member news


The Organic Coup

The Organic Coup, America’s first USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant, certified by CCOF, opened its first location in Pleasanton, California, on Tuesday, November 10. The restaurant serves only organic options, featuring a crispy chicken sandwich. The Organic Coup was created to progress the organic movement and change the way people think about food. The name is Coup, not Coop, because it was hatched to spark a food revolution in which consumers help to transform the conventional food system. “The inspiration for The Organic Coup came from the lack of convenient clean food available...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 16, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Sarah Wells Rogue Farm Corps FarmsNext Internship Program – Oregon Sarah grew up in the woods outside of Portland, Oregon, which she left to study design at the University of San Francisco. While at USF, she created a project that helped bring fresh food to a corner store by making it a drop site for a local farm's CSA, taught a hands-on gardening class to elementary school students, and visited many different inspiring gardening projects around the Bay Area. Sarah also studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco, where she lived with a Moroccan family and was constantly fed fresh, delicious food....
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 9, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF is collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), scientists from numerous agencies, and Cooperative Extension on a Bagrada Bug Working Group. The working group brings together scientists and extension personnel from across the country who are working to develop organic management and biological control of Bagrada bug. What is Bagrada bug? The Bagrada bug is a member of the stinkbug family that has wreaked havoc in mustard-family crops over the past six years. A native of Africa, it has no natural enemies in the U.S. and has spread from southern California...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 9, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, grants

Do you know that CCOF has a hardship assistance fund for certified organic growers and handlers that have gone through natural disasters and other financial hardships? Operations may apply for hardship assistance to offset financial burdens caused by fire, flood, freeze, illness, hurricane, pest pressures, and other major hardships. Since 2007, CCOF has distributed hardship assistance funds to members of the organic community who are in need. In 2014 alone, the CCOF Foundation raised and provided $23,000 in assistance to organic farmers from 15 states. Recipients of the grants were certified...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 9, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Austen Villacis Farmshare Austin’s FarmerStarter Program – Texas Austen Villacis developed his interest in organic food in 2012, when his mom, who was 45 at the time, was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Up until that point, his family's diet had mostly consisted of processed and conventionally-raised foods. Along with his mom and older sister, Austin began researching food as both a mode of prevention and medicine. The whole family changed their diets drastically and began making thoughtful food choices based on quality. Organic produce became a huge focus for them. In the years...
Written by Tami Weiss on Monday, November 2, 2015 on CCOF, events

Register now for the 2016 Annual Meeting and Conference on February 29 in Sacramento! The day will begin with the 2016 Annual Meeting and a keynote address from Nikiko Masumoto—a CCOF member who is an organic farmer, author, and agrarian artist. During the conference following the meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in a series of discussion sessions where we will work together to create a blueprint for an organic world. The discussion sessions will address soil and climate change, organic research priorities, organic transition, and legislation to end unfair fees under California’...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, November 2, 2015 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Nathan Van Assen San Diego City College, Sustainable Agriculture – California Nathan’s journey in this field started about seven years ago when he and his wife had the epiphany that they should be eating fresher foods. Since that time, Nathan has worked in the produce industry as a market stocker for four years, three of which have been exclusively with organic produce as a produce department clerk at Jimbo’s…Naturally! He also supports his wife as she runs her own organic and natural baby clothing business. Nathan aspires to be a produce buyer, a data expert for farms on consumer products,...

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