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Born in DC, Raised in Senegal, & Studying Organic with a Little Help from MOM’s Organic Market

by Shawna Rodgers |
Photo- Malcolm St Cyr_0

Many people and organic businesses from around the country often ask those of us at CCOF, “So, does CCOF only work in California?” The short answer is, “No, we’re all across North America!” 

CCOF Certification Services certifies more than 4,300 operations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The CCOF Foundation grants to students, teachers, and farms all across the country. So, when we say that we want to create a world where organic is the norm, we mean it. And, we can’t do it without confident co-creative efforts from organizations all over the world, organizations like MOM’s Organic Market, which was founded for one purpose: to protect and restore the environment.

MOM’s was founded in 1987 by then 22-year old Scott Nash, who remains the CEO of the company today. Nash is passionate about organic, to say the least. Having started MOM’s with $100 out of his mother’s garage, the organic market now employs more than 1,000 people, is leading the charge for zero-waste initiatives, and in 2019 began supporting future organic farmers directly through the CCOF Foundation. 

Their donation went to support a student from Washington D.C., Malcolm St. Cyr, who is now studying agronomy at Iowa State University. Donations from businesses like MOM’s give St. Cyr the opportunity to dedicate more time and resources to studying than to making ends meet. Here is his story:

“I am of African American, Native American (Cherokee), and West Indian heritage. I was born and lived in the urban United States until just before my ninthbirthday. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a small town in Senegal, West Africa, where I attended a small school with modest facilities. It is here that I completed my childhood and my education. 

In Senegal, the host family that raised me was responsible for feeding a community of people facing issues of development common to the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. Farming here is all organic, but there is little use of modern practices, science, or machines. For more than 10 years, I worked as a volunteer farm laborer for planting and harvest season. I directly witnessed the impact that limited food yields have on an entire community. This prompted my interest in agricultural science and the study of food systems. Agricultural science and international food systems combine my interests in farm production, mathematics, engineering, and community wellbeing.

I hope to share my experiences in a way that will support other students and/or researchers in their work, linking African farmers, entrepreneurs, American farmers, and food distribution networks together. 

A key life goal for me is to use my learning as a tool for reaching back to help the community I grew up in and to assist with solving international and regional food quality, security, and systems problems.”

The CCOF Foundation and MOM’s Organic Market are proud to partner to support Malcolm St. Cyr, a beacon of hope for farmers and consumers across the globe, engaged in promoting a healthy and abundant food system.

MOM'S Organic Market