CCOF-Certified Farmers and Staff Participate in D.C. Farmer Fly-In

From left to right: Karen Archipley (Archi's Acres), Victor Cortes and Veronica Cortes (ALBA farmers certified organic by CCOF), Rep. Jim Costa, Wes King (NSAC), Jane Sooby (CCOF), and Gerardo Fuentes (farm incubator director, ALBA). 
Just in time to contribute suggestions to the 2018 Farm Bill currently being written by the Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the national advocacy group National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) invited CCOF-certified farmers and staff to fly to Washington D.C., to visit key Congressional offices and tell their stories about how the farm bill programs help farmers like them.
CCOF Board of Directors Member Karen Archipley of Archi’s Acres in Escondido; Gerardo Fuentes, farm incubator director of the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas; and certified organic farmers Victor and Veronica Cortes from ALBA joined CCOF policy staffer Jane Sooby from Santa Cruz on Congressional visits on March 7-8 to advocate for organic and farmer support programs.
Overall, 20 farmers and advocates from 13 states participated in NSAC’s Farm Bill fly-in. Specific asks were to support section 2501 to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers, and to support the Local Farms Act, which includes the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Cost Share) and SNAP for low-income veterans.
The California group also advocated for organic-specific programs, including Cost Share and steady funding for the National Organic Program.
The California contingent had meetings in the Cannon, Rayburn, and Longworth House Office Buildings and at the Hart Senate Building. Key talking points in the meetings included the need for programs that support a diversified farming population, the fact that California is the number one organic state in the United States with a value of $13 billion per year, and that organic farming provides opportunity to farmers of all types and scales.

CCOF members met with staff for eight elected officials:

  • Doug LaMalfa CA-1, House Ag Committee
    • Archipley and Sooby thanked Congressman LaMalfa for cosponsoring an organic research marker bill and followed up on a farmer letter sent to him by certified organic farmers in his district.
  • Nancy Pelosi CA-12, House Minority Leader
  • Jim Costa CA-16, House Agriculture Committee
  • Dianne Feinstein, California State Senator, Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Jimmy Panetta CA-20, House Agriculture Committee
    • Congressman Panetta was able to join the meeting in person.
  • Kamala Harris, California State Senator
  • David Valadao, CA-21, House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Jeff Denham, CA-10, House Agriculture Committee