Blog posts by policy

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on CCOF, policy

IntroductionKelly Damewood, CCOF Policy Director David Lester, student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, recently completed a summer internship with CCOF. Over the course of two months, he completed an in-depth review of county regulations that may support or encourage certified organic agriculture. Read on for an interesting and worthwhile summary of his findings. For over thirty years, CCOF – one of the first organic certification agencies in the United States – has worked on landmark law and policy such as the California Organic Food Act of 1979 and the National Organic Program (NOP). CCOF...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Monday, July 21, 2014 on CCOF, policy

Kelly Damewood joined CCOF as Policy Director on July 14. Kelly most recently received an advanced degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in food and agricultural policy. She has also worked as a journalist for Food Safety News, writing and publishing news articles on food safety issues for the online publication with worldwide distribution. Prior to that, Kelly received her law degree from the Vermont Law School, specializing in environmental law.  Kelly will lead CCOF’s policy staff and organize member engagement on issues related to the National Organic Program (NOP),...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Friday, June 13, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, NOP, NOSB, policy


In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering. The organic part of this shared responsibility is extensive already, but specific new guidance from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) adopted by the National Organic Program (NOP) would make these practices more transparent to others...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 2, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy


The CCOF Board of Directors voted in mid-May to adopt a strong GMO policy shared by CCOF’s strategic partner, the Organic Trade Association. The policy calls for a moratorium on production of genetically modified crops until more research on their environmental and potential health issues has been conducted, and a meaningful regulatory framework is in place. The CCOF board also reiterated its support for mandatory GMO labeling. Earlier this year, CCOF wrote a letter to California Congresswoman Noreen Evans expressing support for her bill that would require labeling of GMOs in all foods...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, May 5, 2014 on advocacy, livestock, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards


CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access. In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations. In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the economic...
Written by Jessy Beckett on Thursday, August 8, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, policy

For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to comment on the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that is currently being developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you now have a little more time! Today, the FDA extended the public comment period from September 16 to a final deadline of November 15. The Food Safety Modernization Act is legislation passed in early 2011 in response to various food safety scares. It will affect both farming and processing operations in a variety of ways. For a detailed analysis of how the FSMA may apply to your business, please check out the...
Written by Brise Tencer on Thursday, June 20, 2013 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

As the farm bill process has twisted and turned, it’s been hard to predict what comes next.  Today, in a turn of events that surprised many, the House voted down the farm bill. The $940 billion bill was weak on organic and other sustainable agriculture priorities, but having no bill may be even worse. The USDA is currently acting under an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in September. Under the extension, many programs important to CCOF members, such as the Organic Certification Cost Share program, are not available. The bill failed mostly due to a partisan rife over cuts to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 15, 2013 on advocacy, policy

This article appeared in the Spring 2013 edition of Certified Organic magazine. Consumers are increasingly turning to farmers’ markets to buy healthy, fresh produce. As of mid-2012 there were 7,864 farmers’ markets operating nationwide. This is a 9.6 percent increase from 2011. Today, there are over 800 certified (by the state of California) farmers’ markets in California alone, representing approximately 2,200 producers. These markets provide a welcomed higher-margin return to farm producers and reduce costs by eliminating the need for standard pack on fresh fruits and vegetables....
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Thursday, March 7, 2013 on advocacy, farming: materials and inputs, grower, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

CCOF is committed to ending the use of antibiotics in organic fruit production. We believe that a longer time period is necessary for oxytetracycline than the current 2014 expiration date because of the continuing research in varying locations and seasons that would ensure success, the need for registration of new materials, and enough time for grower education and outreach. We would like to see an extension in the range of 2017 to 2020 for phase out; however, we support the majority position to extend the expiration date for the use of oxytetracycline to October 21, 2016. While our clients...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, January 14, 2013 on advocacy, farm bill, funding, policy

In the last days of December and the beginning of January, Congress and the White House passed legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They attached language to the legislation that extends provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill for nine months, giving themselves until September 2013 to write a new farm bill. Unfortunately for farmers across the nation, this farm bill does not actually extend all programs and leaves many growers high and dry. Organic farmers were hit particularly hard by this move as no funding was provided for the Organic Data Initiative (which provides for price reporting and...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, policy, standards

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released two proposed rules for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011. One of the rules is about produce safety and other is about processing. Both rules have 120-day comment periods. Additional rules related to implementation of FSMA are expected. The proposed Produce Safety Rule would establish standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms in light of identified routes of microbial contamination of produce, including agricultural water;...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 10, 2012 on advocacy, CalCAN, policy

This article was written by Renata Brillinger, California Climate & Agriculture Network. This is a good news and a bad news story. First, the bad news… In June 2012, an international team of researchers released a report in the journal Nature warning that climate change, population growth, and environmental destruction are leading to a “tipping point” that will cause disastrous and irreversible biological changes across the globe. The authors say that we are poised at the point in history when uncontrollable ecological events are beginning to take place and without bold and immediate...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 19, 2012 on book review, CalCAN, policy

This book review was written by Renata Brillinger, California Climate and Agriculture Network. Part history text, part socio-political commentary and part call to action, Dan Imhoff’s new book offers something for everyone from the seasoned agriculture advocate to the newcomer on the food systems scene. “Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill,” published just a couple of months ago by Dan’s company Watershed Media, comes just as the federal debate over the 2012 Farm Bill is heating up. The book is divided into three sections: Why the Farm Bill Matters; Wedge Issues;...