CCOF Recognizes Growth Surge in Central Valley
(February 10, 2017) Santa Cruz, CA – Today, CCOF—the nation’s leader in organic certification, advocacy, and education—is hosting its Annual Meeting and Conference in Visalia, California, focusing this year on Organic Innovation and Inspiration. Visalia, which serves as California’s agricultural hub, has seen astronomical growth in organic production over the past decades, making it an ideal place to continue the conversation about ideas that are changing the way our food is grown. Today the San Joaquin Valley is home to nearly 500 CCOF members’ businesses.
Comprised of eight of California’s top ten agriculture-producing counties, the San Joaquin Valley (which, along with the Sacramento Valley make up the Great Central Valley region) is the heart of food production in the state. In 2013, the value of agricultural production in the region reached a record high of $40 billion, demonstrating the importance the Central Valley plays not only in the state’s economy, but also the nation’s food supply as a whole. Within the San Joaquin Valley specifically, organic is beginning to play a bigger role in the booming agricultural economy: in 1983, CCOF certified a single organic farm in the San Joaquin Valley; today, over 499 CCOF-certified organic producers call the region home.
Energized by the agricultural prominence of the Central Valley, organic’s biggest thinkers will start the conversation at the Organic Innovation and Inspiration conference about the many ways they are making their organic businesses thrive. Organic professionals are already innovative thinkers, focusing on the environmental and health benefits of organic food production. Many of them also take it a step further by implementing other creative business techniques that amplify the success organic is already seeing in the marketplace.
Co-founder and chairman on Stonyfield Farm Gary Hirshberg knows about running a successful organic enterprise. Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, started as a seven-cow operation between two friends that grew into an international business that shared the importance of organic yogurt with countless consumers. Hirshberg will share his secrets with fellow organic professionals in his keynote address at the conference on February 10. CCOF members will also be briefed at their annual meeting by Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita.
A fleet of other organic visionaries will share their inspiration with conference attendees, including Matt Rogers from certified organic retailer Whole Foods Market, organic meal prep service Green Chef’s Michael Joseph, Veritable Vegetable’s Bu Nygrens, and Paige Poulos from All American Hay & Grain.
Before hearing from the lineup of innovators, conference attendees will draw inspiration from those who are helping shape the next generation of organic professionals at the first annual CCOF Foundation Awards Feast. The event will honor National Co+op Grocers and their CEO Robynn Shrader for their overwhelming support of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, which provides grants to K-8 teachers, high schoolers, and higher and vocational education students interested in pursuing careers in organic.
Due to the strong support of CCOF’s members and partners, conference registration is now sold out. Explore the full conference program and join the waitlist at www.ccof.org/2017.
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 more than 40 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 www.ccof.org.