The CCOF Foundation honors longtime organic advocate Becky Blythe as our 2022 Organic Champion.
For 16 years, CCOF certification staff Becky Blythe brought integrity to the organic standard. A longtime Santa Cruz local, Becky was active in the environmental activism community on the Central Coast. Becky passed away this summer. She is survived by her husband, Jim Cockrell, and her son Sam Littman.
An immigrant, Becky moved to California with her family from her native Germany when she was in middle school. After studying wildlife biology at Oregon State University, Becky earned her degree in conservation and resource studies from UC Berkeley.
During the summer of 1983, on an internship with the Wildlife Research Institute in Montana, Becky joined a protest against illegal construction of new logging roads in forests concurrently under Forest Service review for wilderness designation. The protest saved a forest and galvanized Becky’s passion for public policy and direct action on behalf of the wild. Becky interned as a ranger for the National Park Service, worked for the National Forest Service, trained as a firefighter, and eventually earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at UC Berkeley and went on to teach environmental education. In 1989, Becky and her husband Peter moved to Santa Cruz County, where she took a teaching job at Gateway School.
In the early 2000s, Becky transitioned from direct action and teaching about nature to focus on policy to protect nature. She joined a consulting firm where she managed a number of political candidate campaigns. She led grassroots efforts to lobby the Santa Cruz City Council, City Commissions, and the Coastal Commission to oppose commercial development in sensitive areas, preserve open spaces, and establish affordable housing throughout Santa Cruz County.
In 2005, Becky attended a sustainable agriculture and organic farming program at UC Davis. Upon graduating, she eagerly sought a job in organic agriculture and was excited to land at CCOF. At CCOF, Becky was admired for her expertise in organic standards and for her efficiency and diplomacy at shepherding clients through the certification process. After 16 years of dedicated service to the company and the organic communities we serve, Becky retired from her position as Senior Certification Service Specialist in June 2021. Upon her announcement, Becky’s supervisor commented, “When Becky retired, we hired two people to replace her—her small shoes were very big.”
It's never easy to say goodbye to a loved one. We like to think of it as a “see you later.” With our 2022 Organic Champion award, we also wish to send another message to Becky: “Thank you for your dedication to organic and community!”