On September 20, CCOF partnered with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) to host California State Senator Laird and Assemblymember Rivas for a tour of ALBA’s organic farm in the Salinas Valley and a discussion of the needs of organic farmers.
CCOF and the legislators were joined by organic farmers, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) staff, researchers, and partner organizations to uplift organic farming. We had the opportunity to hear from Yadira Mendiola, ALBA farmer and recipient of a CCOF Foundation Organic Transition Grant. Yadira shared her story of starting her own farm to pass down to her children. She spoke about the long hours and steep learning curve of growing food organically and the importance of technical and financial assistance.
Over an organic lunch, BFI researchers shared the latest findings on organic farming. UC Davis Associate Professor Daniel Karp made the case that organic practices, including vegetative strips, are beneficial to food safety, contrary to pervasive thought.
The stories and insights shared by ALBA farmers and BFI researchers firmly align with CCOF’s advocacy. CCOF advocated for California’s organic transition program, which allocates $5 million to support farmers and ranchers as they transition to organic through grants, technical assistance, education, and outreach. CCOF plans to work closely with CDFA to shape this new program.
A special thank you to the organic farmers who continue to advocate on behalf of our community.