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CCOF, Leader in Organic Industry, Celebrates 50th Anniversary

by Peter Nell |

(March 20, 2023) Santa Cruz, CA – CCOF is announcing its 50th anniversary as an organic certification agency and member-supporting organization. 

“CCOF, alongside the organic movement, has experienced phenomenal growth in the last 50 years. Organic is now a household term, and organic producers have a global market to serve. CCOF is proud to be a part of the history of organic in the United States,” said CCOF CEO Kelly Damewood. 

In 1973, CCOF began as a small group of organic farmers, all committed to growing nutritious food in a way that benefited the planet and eschewed the use of synthetic pesticides. Together, these farmers founded a partnership of support and accountability. They audited each other’s growing practices, and also shared advice from their own on-farm trials of organic methods. 

Then came the tumultuous years of codifying these practices into California state regulations, and eventually into federal law as part of the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, which called for the establishment of the National Organic Program (NOP). CCOF members and staff were heavily involved in advocating for these standards and developing the specifics of the organic regulations. 

Today, CCOF is no longer just an organic certifier, but has evolved into a dynamic organization dedicated to supporting organic producers through a variety of strategies. This, of course, includes organic certification, but has also branched out to include complementary certifications like food safety, grassfed, Regenerative Organic Certified(tm), and OCal cannabis certification in California.  The CCOF Foundation was launched in 2001 to provide resources to new and seasoned organic producers, like continuing education and financial support. CCOF has also continued its work in political advocacy by advocating for policies that support organic producers, protect organic integrity, and grow the benefits of organic nationwide. 

“Just as organic continues to evolve and change, so too does the support organic producers are looking for,” explained Damewood. “CCOF is both well-established and nimble enough to listen for those needs from the producers we serve and find creative ways to meet them.”

Above all, CCOF’s vision is of “a world where organic is the norm,” and it’s taking its multi-faceted approach to get there. “I see CCOF headed for even better things in the future,” said CCOF Board of Directors Chair Phil LaRocca. “We have such a strong reputation of being the best; being honest and fair. I see us continuing to offer additional programs under the umbrella of strong organic standards, being a more powerful advocacy force, and growing our support for producers through the CCOF Foundation.”

“We’re going to reach our goal of 30% of land in California being certified organic by 2030, and keep growing organic from there,” LaRocca declared. “We’re heading for an even brighter future.”

About CCOF
CCOF advances organic agriculture for a healthy world. We advocate on behalf of our members for organic policies, support the growth of organic through education and grants, and provide organic certification that is personal and accessible.

CCOF is a nonprofit organization governed by the people who grow and make our food. Founded in California 50 years ago, today our roots span the breadth of North America and our presence is internationally recognized. We are supported by an organic family of farmers, ranchers, processors, retailers, consumers, and policymakers. Together, we work to realize a future where organic is the norm.

For more information about CCOF, visit