CCOF Blog

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, March 18, 2019 on CCOF, CCOF Foundation, events, food safety, general organic

Not sure what the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) means for your small or medium-sized organic farm? Join the CCOF Foundation and Community Alliance with Family Farmers/Farmers Guild (CAFF/FG) on March 27 for a webinar that clarifies the basic FSMA requirements for small and medium-sized produce farms.  Produce farms in California are subject to FSMA inspections by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Even if your farm qualifies for an exemption from FSMA, you still need to keep records to prove that you qualify for the exemption. A FSMA inspector may request...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 18, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) released their meeting materials ahead of their upcoming meeting on April 24-26, 2019, in Seattle, Washington.  Members of the public are encouraged to submit public comments via Regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-18-0071-0001 until April 4, 2019. Additionally, oral comments will be accepted in person and through pre-meeting webinars. NOSB reviews all substances on the National List every five years to determine their status in organic production. NOSB will discuss and complete preliminary reviews for each substance in Seattle before voting...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Monday, March 18, 2019 on biodiversity, chapters, events

The San Luis Obispo Kompogas facility converts municipal organic solid waste into high grade compost, liquid soil amendment, and carbon neutral biogas. Through a controlled 14-day multistage process at a thermophilic temperature of 131 degrees, food waste is converted into compost for agricultural use and carbon-neutral biogas for electricity production. The facility does all this indoors with no runoff while recovering energy in the process. At full capacity, the plant is designed to generate 6.2 million kW/h annually, which is more than enough to power the facility and send excess...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 18, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - K-8, future organic farmers


R.L. Stevenson Middle School

R.L. Stevenson Middle School received a grant to create and sustain a school learning garden--a place for exploration and creation to occur. Middle school students began their project by learning about the microorganisms that live in soil. This included building a worm composting station. Students also learned about a wide variety of seeds and grew edible plants to be used for a class salad party. After the plants went to seed, students collected them and packaged them in packets they designed. The garden continues to develop as a community space where students can read books in the afternoon...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, policy

It’s time to put organic food on more kids’ plates, and the California legislature may be willing to help. California Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s new bill, AB 958, will create the first-ever Organic-to-School pilot program. The pilot program will help qualifying school districts purchase organic food, offering up to 15 cents per meal. If successful, the bill will bring more organic food to California’s schools, which is great for the health of our children, a win for climate, and a boost for innovative farming communities growing food without toxic pesticides. California is the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on events, general organic

In celebrating the tradition and innovation of the State’s number one industry, agriculture, the California State Fair Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Council, selects Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as Agriculturalist of the Year.  The Agriculturalist of the Year award is presented to an individual who has contributed extensively, in a professional capacity, to California’s agricultural industry. Award criteria stipulates this individual must have demonstrated leadership and clearly represented the...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet for its second annual meeting in Seattle, Washington on April 24-26, 2019. The board will vote to retain or remove substances on the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances and will also vote on proposals and discussion documents.  The deadline to submit written comments is April 4, 2019. Commenting will open when the meeting materials are released (approximately six weeks before the meeting). The deadline to submit oral comments via webinar or in person in Washington is also April 4, 2019. Registration for the oral comments...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on biodiversity, events, pests and pesticides


Oak Titmouse.N.Uyeda

Oak Titmouse photo by Norman Uyeda Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) and our partners are pleased to announce four upcoming field days as part of our All Things Avian Series.  Farmers, expand your tool box by adding birds as pest control allies on your farm. Learn how to take advantage of a multitude of beneficial birds that provide pest control services year-round, and to manage the few birds that may become pests later.  Farmer to Farmer Field Days in Northern CaliforniaMarch 19 – Chamberlain Farms, Woodland, CA, 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.March 21 – Tres Sabores Vineyard (CCOF-certified), St. Helena, CA...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 11, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - K-8, future organic farmers


El Vista Elementary School

Third through sixth grade students at El Vista School received a grant to learn about organically and conventionally grown fruit and vegetables. They compared the look, taste, and smell of the fruit and vegetables, researched both farming practices, and visited a conventional farm and an organic farm. Ninety eight percent of El Vista School’s student body receives reduced or free lunch and many of its students do not get the chance to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, even though they live in a farming region. This project gave students the opportunity to see the difference between organic and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 4, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, general organic, research


Roadmap

 CCOF is excited to release a new contribution to the scientific literature, Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report, which distills the findings of more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific studies into a captivating and beautifully illustrated read.  The Benefits Report presents clear evidence that organic agriculture is more than a system of food production; it is a comprehensive approach to solving the issues threatening California’s long-term security and prosperity.  “Organic food production is an opportunity to stimulate the state’s economy, promote public health, and protect...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 4, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund

I have witnessed Cathy Calfo’s vivacious drive since 2011 when she became the Executive Director of CCOF.  Since that time, she has been a friend, mentor, confidant and co-conspirator in advancing all things organic. During her eight-year tenure, she achieved many policy and advocacy successes for organic agriculture in California and the Nation. Cathy will leave the organization in March, in the good hands of Kelly Damewood. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Cathy about her work at CCOF, commitment to organic and vision for the future. Prior to CCOF, Cathy served two terms as...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 4, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund


Bonterra Barn_Photo Credit Sara Matthews Photography

Photo courtesy Sara MatthewsLast December 2018, the CCOF Foundation hosted its largest-ever benefit dinner, with nearly 250 of CCOF’s closest friends and supporters coming together in Monterey, California. The dinner, part of the larger Organic Grower Summit co-hosted by CCOF and the Organic Produce Network, aimed to draw awareness to the programs of the CCOF Foundation, and to bring together a group of like-minded individuals to celebrate the students, teachers, and donors who make the work of the CCOF Foundation possible. There were also some fantastic adult beverages available to those...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 4, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - K-8, future organic farmers


Ely Memorial School Cucumber check

Students from Washington Elementary learned about beekeeping from a local beekeeper. The project began with a presentation during the Arthropoda section of the science class. Forty students learned about the activities of the Ely Area Bee Club as well as scientific facts about bees. Participating students visited the apiary for weekly hive checks. Although the club's hives did not produce enough honey to harvest this year, the students were taught how to harvest honey during a Save the Bees weekend course given by the Ely Folk School. Students helped sell honey at the Ely Farmers' Market. The...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 25, 2019 on biodiversity, food safety, general organic, research

The FDA’s Produce Safety Rule, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is now taking effect for California farmers. A new survey, funded by the USDA, promises to give a clearer picture of what this means for the industry. Farmers have voiced concerns over the costs and challenges of complying with the Rule since it was first announced. However, there is still too little hard evidence on the true distribution and severity of these challenges. Both farmers and government agencies need concrete statistics on where California farmers stand with respect to the Rule and how much they’...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic


Monarch

California agricultural producers can voluntarily help the monarch butterfly on their farms and ranches through a variety of conservation practices offered by the USDA.  “With the monarch butterfly’s western population in peril, we’re encouraging California producers to make simple tweaks on their farms that can go a long way for this iconic species,” said Carlos Suarez, state conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California. “NRCS offers more than three dozen conservation practices that enable producers to help monarchs and other pollinators as well as...

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