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Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 3, 2021

Last week, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), which outlines a national roadmap for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. agriculture by the year 2040. This act is a farmer-focused, research-driven path that highlights the ways that food production and agriculture are strong solutions to climate change when properly funded and supported. To learn more, read the press release and the bill text. 

This legislation was co-sponsored by 17 representatives, including Barragán (CA-44),…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 26, 2021

After three years of public hearings, numerous revisions, and intense deliberations, on April 15, 2021, the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board approved a new agricultural order regulating discharges from irrigated lands.

The new regulations in Ag Order 4.0 are likely to go too far for many farmers and not far enough for environmental justice advocates, who point to nitrate contamination in regional drinking water wells as an ongoing problem that is not being addressed, even through tighter regulations on agriculture.

One key change is that, in addition to reporting…

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 26, 2021
Organic Valley

While some outliers still exist, most of America’s farmers have smartphones. As modern technology continues to advance, increased smartphone adoption in rural farming communities brings new opportunities to apply emerging technologies that assist farmers with planning crop calendars, managing employee time cards, and tracking input applications, all in the palm of your hand. While this causes worry for some who would rather keep things simple and data-free, it also provides an unprecedented chance for farmers to tell their stories directly to their audiences. Organic Valley is one such…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 26, 2021
Urban Farm

Graduate student Thais Spiropoulos of California Polytechnic University, Pomona, in association with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) programs in Southern California, will be conducting a needs assessment of urban farmers who primarily use organic growing methods. This survey aims to assess the technical needs of urban farmers within non-desert areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, inland Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

For the purpose of this survey, urban agriculture is defined as the production, distribution, and marketing (both…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

CCOF recently launched our “Meat Matters” Campaign with the goal of expanding meat processing capacity in California and advancing organic livestock production as a solution to California’s toughest challenges.

We started by asking: Why should California support ranching?

Here are just five reasons why we need ranchers more than ever:

Ranchers, and the lands they steward, provide essential…
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Breaking into new markets may seem daunting when other farms grow or raise similar products. I remember trying to navigate this when I was first starting out. There were so many farmers with strong followings who already grew unique varieties that I questioned my ability to make a name for my farm.

But that wasn’t the case at all! With a little forethought and planning, I found that there is lots of room for innovation. Don’t be discouraged as the new farmer in town. With a little creativity, there is always a way to set yourself apart from other farms!

Here are some things I…

Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

On Thursday, April 15, CCOF­–co-sponsored AB-125 passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee with a bipartisan 10–0 vote, moving on to the Natural Resources Committee. The “Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms, and Worker Protection Bond Act of 2022,” which would invest $3.302 billion across the food and agriculture system over five years, would constitute the largest state investment in organic agriculture in California’s history. The bill includes funding for organic transition support, technical assistance, and education. It would also boost the…

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Lehia Apana

In a recent interview, Lehia Apana, multi-year Future Organic Farmer grant recipient and co-founder of Polipoli Farms on Maui, Hawaii, recalled her struggle identifying as an organic farmer. Despite using agroforestry and applying organic methods on the farm for many years, Apana speaks of having imposter syndrome and wondering when she and co-founder Brad Bayless could call themselves farmers. Their journey is not unlike that of other young farmers across the United States or even of young professionals in the first five years of their careers. The learning curve is steep, especially in…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Value-added products can make a significant contribution to a farm’s cash flow when a crop grown on the farm is processed into a food product, such as salsa or jam, that can be sold at a higher price. USDA offers funding to support farmers and groups of farmers developing value-added enterprises through the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

USDA has adjusted the VAPG program in response to COVID, including

extending the submission deadline to April 29 for electronic application and to a May 4 postmark for paper applications;increasing funding for the program to…
Written by Sarah Watters on Monday, April 5, 2021
Audrey Jen

Meet 2020 Future Organic Farmers Grant Recipient Audrey Jen!

While many people are drawn to agriculture because of a family background in farming, Audrey Jen was drawn into agriculture through her interest in science. The deal was sealed for Jen by hands-on experience farming organically for school.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jen had very little experience with agriculture or produce aside from what she saw in the grocery store. A biology class sparked her initial interest in growing; she had never before seen a seed grow to become the food that we see on our…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 5, 2021
Greenhouse seedling

Extending your farm’s production season—either by getting a jump on an early harvest or by continuing into the winter months—is a great way to bring additional income to the farm. Both early-season or late-season extensions are worth considering. However, if you can offer spring and summer crops before other farms, you will reap more of the benefits. Customers drawn to your early produce are more likely to stick with your stand throughout the entire season. It is much harder to get customers to shop with you once they have already found another source they like. Customers are more excited…

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 5, 2021

It’s been one year since Patagonia released its film, Fishpeople: Lives Transformed by the Sea. While it may not seem directly related to organic agriculture, the health of oceans is inextricably linked to the health of the soil.

CCOF Foundation Visionary-level donor and outspoken environmental steward Patagonia has a mission to save our home planet. The company's fair and sustainable sourcing practices, their consistent support of environmental nonprofits across the globe, and the powerful platform where they share their values have attracted a loyal audience to Patagonia. Within…

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, April 5, 2021

Join the CCOF Foundation and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) on April 13 for a webinar that will help food hubs and other local food buyers (including farms in some cases) understand how to verify their farm suppliers in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

In this webinar, we will break down the complex supplier verification requirement of the FSMA’s Preventive Controls Rule (also known as the "PC Rule"). The PC Rule applies to “facilities,” which in some cases can include farms. Part of the PC Rule requires food hubs and other buyers to “…

Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, April 5, 2021

Nominations are open for the inaugural Specialty Grower Sustainability Award until April 16, 2021. The award sponsors are looking for growers that have made efforts on their farm including:

Participation in sustainability tracing programs Social impact in local community Applying more biological products vs. conventional chemistries New irrigation practices/system that reduces water usage

Sponsored by Great American Media Services and Valent U.S.A., the award will be presented at the United Fresh Convention & Expo in June 2021. The winner will be profiled in multiple Great…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 29, 2021

California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has tapped a diverse group of experts to serve in its new Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) Work Group, which will advise DPR on how to implement a transition away from harmful chemicals–a transition that Governor Gavin Newson says is a high priority for the state.  

The SPM Work Group will pick up where the previous Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group left off and will guide state agencies in creating alternatives to the use of highly toxic synthetic pesticides. This will include increased research and education in organic…