Blog posts by Kelly Damewood

Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 8, 2014 on food safety, policy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is accepting public comments on its recently updated food safety rules now through December 15. To comment, CCOF highly recommends that you use the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comment template and instructions. The updated rules include significant changes, such as: revised water testing standards, deferred manure treatment standards, and  a more collaborative approach to regulating parts of mixed-type facilities — e.g. operations that grow, pack, and/or process on the farm. FDA issued the updated rules after receiving...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 24, 2014 on genetic engineering, policy


CCOF joined individuals and groups representing some 57 million Americans in signing a letter that warns citizens, politicians, and regulators in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the European Union about the hazards of genetically modified crops (GMOs). The letter describes the history of GMOs in the United States, including the struggle of farmers and concerned citizens to increase oversight and regulation of GMO crops. The letter not only points out environmental concerns, but it also notes that GMO drift continues to plague non-GMO producers across the United States. CCOF proudly...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 17, 2014 on policy

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) recently released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. The guide is a free digital resource for farmers, conservationists, and other members of the sustainable agriculture and food community. The comprehensive guide breaks down federal programs and policies into plain-language explanations and includes valuable resources. The guide is organized into nine chapters and details over 40 federal food and farm programs, along with a quick-reference overview chart, glossary, and other resources – all accessible via NSAC’s...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on NOSB, policy

Last week, several CCOF staff and members attended the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Louisville, Kentucky to share their expertise and weigh in on the future of organic standards. The NOSB meets biannually to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. Members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings because they have the opportunity speak and share their opinions on farming and processing inputs and practices. CCOF also participated in the National Organic Coalition’...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on policy

On October 31, CCOF submitted a public comment to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) regarding its draft Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program (the Statewide Program) Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). CDFA implements the Statewide Program to prevent the introduction and spread of injurious insect pests, plant diseases, and noxious weeds in California. For the Statewide Program, CDFA uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which is the coordinated use of information about pest biology, the host environments, and available control methods to...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 27, 2014 on policy

Are you up-to-date on the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed rules? On Thursday, November 6, in Sacramento, California, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will host a free listening session on the FSMA Updated Proposed Rules for Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, and Preventative Controls for Animal Food. CCOF is co-sponsoring the listening session and encourages all members to take advantage of this opportunity to hear an overview of the updated proposed rules, ask questions, and learn more about food safety rules. The listening session will...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Friday, October 17, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet October 28-30 in Louisville, Kentucky to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. In preparation for the meeting, CCOF submitted nine public comments that address a range of topics such as soil conservation, GMO priorities, and crop and handling materials. CCOF’s comments are below – read more to learn more about CCOF’s recommendations to the NOSB and the value of certain topics and materials to organic production. CCOF representatives will also...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 6, 2014 on events


Three members of the California State Legislature recently joined CCOF on a tour of three CCOF-certified farms. The tour, hosted in partnership with California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), focused on the climate benefits of organic agriculture. The tour participants—including Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Susan Talamantes Eggman and Central Coast state representatives Senator Bill Monning (D-Monterey) and Assembly Member Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz)—visited Pinnacle in San Juan Bautista, High Ground Organics in Watsonville, and Pie Ranch in...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 22, 2014 on assistance, livestock


The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to livestock producers that suffered drought-related grazing losses on specific types of pastureland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages eligible livestock producers to enroll in the LFP now. The USDA must reduce payments to producers who do not take action by September 30, 2014.  Livestock producers who may be eligible for disaster assistance include producers who have experienced grazing losses since October 2011. If you believe you are eligible, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and set an...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 8, 2014 on education

The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at UC Santa Cruz is accepting applications for its 2015 Apprenticeship Program. A range of scholarship funding is available for interested applicants, and the deadline to apply is September 30th. The 2015 Apprenticeship Program The Apprenticeship Program is a six-month, full-time residential training at the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus. Each year, the apprenticeship program trains 39 adults in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale sustainable farming through...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on farming: materials and inputs, inputs, NOSB

Please complete the following surveys prepared by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The surveys compile information on crop and processing materials pending review before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Your feedback on these materials is critical because it will help shape CCOF comments and testimony to the NOSB.   Background NOSB advises the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on which substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic farming and processing based on criteria under the Organic Foods Production Act. Generally, synthetic substances are prohibited...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 11, 2014 on farmers markets


Last week, CCOF celebrated the 15th annual “National Farmers Market Week.” Among the many causes for celebration, CCOF joined the USDA in applauding increased access to farmers’ markets across the United States.  The number of listed farmers’ markets totals 8,268, according to the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, an online tool with a searchable database for information such as directions, operating times, and product offerings. California has the most farmers’ markets of any other state, but all geographic regions have seen an overall increase in markets since 2008, according to a...