Blog posts by grower

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 26, 2021 on advocacy, grower, policy, regulatory, water


Central Coast

After three years of public hearings, numerous revisions, and intense deliberations, on April 15, 2021, the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board approved a new agricultural order regulating discharges from irrigated lands.The new regulations in Ag Order 4.0 are likely to go too far for many farmers and not far enough for environmental justice advocates, who point to nitrate contamination in regional drinking water wells as an ongoing problem that is not being addressed, even through tighter regulations on agriculture.One key change is that, in addition to reporting total nitrogen (N)...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 26, 2021 on grower, research


Urban Farm

Graduate student Thais Spiropoulos of California Polytechnic University, Pomona, in association with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) programs in Southern California, will be conducting a needs assessment of urban farmers who primarily use organic growing methods. This survey aims to assess the technical needs of urban farmers within non-desert areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, inland Los Angeles, and Orange counties.For the purpose of this survey, urban agriculture is defined as the production, distribution, and marketing (both for-profit...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 19, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, grower


Market

Breaking into new markets may seem daunting when other farms grow or raise similar products. I remember trying to navigate this when I was first starting out. There were so many farmers with strong followings who already grew unique varieties that I questioned my ability to make a name for my farm.But that wasn’t the case at all! With a little forethought and planning, I found that there is lots of room for innovation. Don’t be discouraged as the new farmer in town. With a little creativity, there is always a way to set yourself apart from other farms!Here are some things I considered to make...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 19, 2021 on CCOF Foundation, future organic farmers, Future Organic Farmers - Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmers program, grower


Lehia Apana

In a recent interview, Lehia Apana, multi-year Future Organic Farmer grant recipient and co-founder of Polipoli Farms on Maui, Hawaii, recalled her struggle identifying as an organic farmer. Despite using agroforestry and applying organic methods on the farm for many years, Apana speaks of having imposter syndrome and wondering when she and co-founder Brad Bayless could call themselves farmers. Their journey is not unlike that of other young farmers across the United States or even of young professionals in the first five years of their careers. The learning curve is steep, especially in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 19, 2021 on funding, grower


Value added products

Value-added products can make a significant contribution to a farm’s cash flow when a crop grown on the farm is processed into a food product, such as salsa or jam, that can be sold at a higher price. USDA offers funding to support farmers and groups of farmers developing value-added enterprises through the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.USDA has adjusted the VAPG program in response to COVID, includingextending the submission deadline to April 29 for electronic application and to a May 4 postmark for paper applications;increasing funding for the program to approximately $76...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on education, grower

As regional agricultural orders mandate more rigorous nutrient and irrigation management, fine-tuning nitrogen applications is an increasingly important skill for organic growers.To help address this challenge, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists are offering a three-part online workshop, Practical Training on Nitrogen Management in Organic Production of Vegetables and Strawberries, which will be held the first three Tuesdays in March from 9-11 a.m.Over the three sessions, experts will discuss sources of nitrogen and their roles in organic soil fertility and the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on advocacy, food safety, grower

When it comes to U.S. agriculture regulations, one size does not fit all. That was the message that Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and thousands of family farmers delivered ten years ago when the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began hashing out the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Had it not been for that advocacy, FSMA would likely have regulated small family farms the same way it regulates larger corporate growers, and would have buried small farms beneath paperwork.FDA needs to hear the message again. Speak up by February 22!The FDA is again proposing...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on education, grower

An Organic Agriculture Seminar Series for Growers is offered via Zoom on Tuesdays from 12-1 p.m., now through May 4.University of California Cooperative Extension Small Farms and organic advisor Margaret Lloyd have organized the series aimed at providing useful information on organic topics for growers.Each seminar features a guest speaker and a group conversation with questions from the audience. No pre-registration is required. The Zoom meeting link is the same each week.The series began on January 26 of this year with a talk on biochar. Recordings of past seminars, written summaries, and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 8, 2021 on grower, research

University of California, Davis wants to hear from California dried fruit processors.California is a major producer of dried fruits, and we at UC Davis want to support the production of high-quality dried products. A team of researchers in the Food Science and Technology Department is interested in developing guidance on the best practices to ensure the safety and quality of dried California specialty crops.To support our California dried fruit producers, we need information on the most common industry practices currently being employed for dehydrating. Do you sun dry or use a mechanical...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, grower

A new technical but approachable guide developed by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) offers small- and medium-scale organic growers valuable information on organic and sustainable seedling production. The 20-page guide describes how to effectively and efficiently grow vegetable and flower seedlings for organic operations using environmentally responsible practices. It offers an overview of greenhouse structures and basic cultural requirements and environmental management techniques to optimize germination and...
Written by Lulu Garcia on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, grower

Una nueva guía técnica, pero accesible, desarrollada por el Centro de Agroecología y Sistemas Alimentarios Sostenibles (CASFS), en la Universidad de California en Santa Cruz (UCSC), ofrece a los agricultores orgánicos a pequeña y mediana escala, información valiosa sobre la producción orgánica y sostenible de plántulas.   La guía de 20 páginas, describe cómo cultivar, de manera efectiva y eficiente, plántulas de hortalizas y flores para granjas orgánicas, utilizando prácticas ambientalmente responsables. Además, ofrece una visión general sobre las estructuras de invernadero y los requisitos...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 22, 2019 on biodiversity, education, general organic, grower, marketing, survey

Undergraduate student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Kindra Fulton is conducting a research project on behalf of the College of Agriculture. The project focuses on promoting California grown specialty crops at trade shows. Fulton was born and raised in Salinas, California with deep ties in and a passion for the agriculture industry.  Fulton has created a five-minute survey and is searching for respondents. The survey is most applicable to individuals in the specialty crop industry who have the knowledge to answer specific questions about their company’s use of...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 8, 2019 on food safety, general organic, grower


foodsafety

CCOF received a NIFA Food Safety Outreach grant in 2017 to provide Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) required Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) compliant trainings and technical assistance for small scale, organic, and Spanish speaking farmers in California. In collaboration with partner organizations Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the California Center for Cooperative Development, CCOF conducted eight trainings and two webinars between January 2018 and January 2019. Project Results192 attendees received FSMA PSA training throughout California from 2017-2019.51...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 7, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, events, funding, general organic, grower

If you are considering implementing new practices on your farm to promote healthy soils and build resilience, you might be eligible for up to $75,000 in cost-share grants. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)’s Climate Smart Agriculture Program is allocating $15 million for Healthy Soils grants for the coming year. Applications are due March 8, 2019.  Help with PaperworkFree assistance with planning and completing the grant application is available. Wild Farm Alliance will assist growers who contact them at info@wildfarmalliance.org. Together with EcoFarm representatives...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, January 7, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, education, events, food safety, general organic, grower

Tickets for the CCOF Foundation food safety workshops in Pacific Grove, CA are going fast. While our workshop in English has sold out, there is still space left in our Spanish food safety workshop. Hosted on January 23 in conjunction with the 2019 EcoFarm Conference, the workshop meets the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training requirement for produce growers. Thanks to a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, tickets cost only $35. Don’t miss the January 15 deadline to purchase tickets!You do not need to attend the entire EcoFarm conference to attend the...

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