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CCOF Foundation Names Recipients of 2014 Future Organic Farmer Grants

by Sarah Watters |

(July 14, 2014) Santa Cruz, CA – Today, CCOF Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo announced the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s 2014 Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund direct grants for students pursuing higher or vocational education in organic agriculture.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between organic industry leaders. The CCOF Foundation and UNFI Foundation, along with Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods have pooled their resources to support the education of new organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors. These organizations formed an Advisory Committee that developed application criteria, reviewed grant applicants, and selected the grant finalists for these ten direct grants to students in higher and vocational education programs.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant winners were judged to have the strongest combination of commitment to leading a lifelong career in organic agriculture, investment and participation into the organic community, and dedication to growing the organic movement. Each grant recipient will receive $2,500 to apply toward their studies in organic agriculture.

The CCOF Foundation congratulates the following 2014 Future Organic Farmer Grant recipients:

  • Stephanie Ayoub, Michigan State University, Organic Farmer Training Program
  • Emily Barber, Washington State University, Organic Agricultural Systems
  • Carlos Cervantes, California State University, Fresno, Plant Science
  • Octavio Garcia, California State University, Fresno, Plant Science
  • Kristofor Ludvigson, Washington State University, Organic Agricultural Systems
  • Anna Mays, University of Vermont, Farmer Training Program
  • Fernando Mendez, Columbia Basin College, Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Eliza Milio, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Farm & Garden Apprenticeship
  • Sarah Spear, Montana State University, Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems – Agroecology
  • Madeline Valentine, Michigan State University, Horticulture

“We believe that a key challenge to growing future organic farmers is the lack of support within the existing farm education network for young people, and new farmers wishing to pursue projects careers that focus on organic production methods,” explains Calfo. “Furthermore, we believe that if young people were encouraged to pursue their interests in organic farming, those interests would ‘trickle up’ and put pressure on community colleges and state universities to provide more career development and higher learning opportunities in the field of organic agriculture.”

The CCOF Foundation is now accepting contributions to the 2015 Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. Industry partners are invited to participate in growing the organic movement through this important initiative. For more details on donating to the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, please email


About The CCOF Foundation

CCOF’s mission is to certify, educate, advocate, and promote organic. The CCOF Foundation’s 2014 program priorities include providing direct financial support for future organic farmers, providing hardship assistance grants to organic producers, offering technical assistance to organic producers, and promoting public education about the benefits of organic foods and agriculture. CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) represents 2,700 organic producers, handlers, and processors.

UNFI Foundation

The UNFI Foundation is committed to promoting healthy, sustainable, and organic food production and consumption. The UNFI Foundation focuses on organic/sustainable agriculture by increasing organic food production and consumption and promoting sustainable farming, while prioritizing nutrition by educating people about healthy food choices. UNFI is proud to fund innovative new programs that support the development of healthy, sustainable foods and food practices, and the health of the planet.


Driscoll’s is a leading purveyor of fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Family owned for over 100 years, Driscoll’s is a trusted, recognized brand for consumers, leading chefs, and culinary institutions around the world. Driscoll’s uses only natural breeding methods to create plant varieties to produce ONLY THE FINEST BERRIES. Berries are grown by independent farmers around the globe and are available year round. For more information visit

Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) Fund

The FAFO Fund strives to protect and promote organic farmers by investing in organic research, education and advocacy. Through their work, they elevate and amplify the benefits of organic production and food for the health of humans, community, animals and the environment. They are dedicated to the belief that together they can do more and can envision a better world through organic.

Bradmer Foods

Bradmer Foods is a consulting and investment firm with extensive natural products industry experience. They have worked with a sustainable frozen seafood business, organic tea and coffee companies, a natural/organic catering business, and the world’s premier organic acai producer. As an industry member, they believe strongly in giving back.