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CCOF’s First Employee, Mark Lipson, Honored by Rodale

by Jane Sooby |

California congressman Sam Farr and Mark Lipson in the early days of creating the organic standards.

The Rodale Institute, a progenitor of the organic movement in the United States that built the scientific underpinnings of organic production, awarded Mark Lipson (CCOF’s first paid employee) the Organic Stewardship Award in a ceremony held at the Rodale research farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. 

Grounded by his home base at CCOF-certified Molino Creek Farm in Davenport, California—renowned for their dry-farmed organic tomatoes—Mark worked at CCOF from 1985 to 1993 and was instrumental in developing the nascent organic standards and in accomplishing state- and federal-level regulation of organic market claims. He was the founding chair of California’s organic advisory board, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee.

Mark, along with former CCOF Executive Director Bob Scowcroft, was a founder of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) in 1995 and, as OFRF’s policy director, successfully advocated for resources for organic research in the farm bill, including the creation of the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative in 2002.

Mark’s organic policy expertise was sought by the Obama administration, and he served four years in Washington D.C. as policy advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary for organic and sustainable agriculture.

Still based at Molino Creek, Mark is currently working to establish an organic policy studies program at University of California, Santa Cruz and is consulting through his business, Pacific Plate Organics. He also serves as a strategic advisor to CCOF on the new Transition to Organic Partnership Program. 

Congratulations, Mark!