Blog posts by Shawna Rodgers

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, January 7, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, funding


John Taylor

Photo: John Taylor, co-owner of Taylor Brothers Farms While prunes may not be #trending the way we’ve seen kale, sweet potatoes, or açai trend in recent years, prunes have reclaimed their status as a superfood in farmers’ markets across the globe. Prunes provide countless benefits for their consumers. With more antioxidants than blueberries, prunes slow and prevent aging; help your cells recover from oxidative stress (think: work deadlines); and may even prevent diabetes, obesity, and bone loss. Prunes are full of your body’s much needed vitamins and minerals, and they also help maintain a...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, November 5, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, events


Travis Forgues

Organic Valley’s Vice President of Farmer Affairs Travis Forgues will join us on December 12 as the keynote speaker of the CCOF Foundation’s “We Are Organic” Dinner at the Organic Grower Summit (OGS) in Monterey, California. All proceeds of the dinner benefit the CCOF Foundation.  As a young man with degrees in computer science and psychology, Forgues could have very easily taken his professional career off the farm and into cyberspace with one click of a mouse.   Instead, Forgues and his wife Amy chose to stick with real mice, tending to their herd of happy cows that graze their family’s...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, October 8, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, education, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers

The CCOF Foundation offers grants to students and teachers of organic agriculture across the country. Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has granted over half a million dollars, impacting more than 30,000 students and teachers of organic agriculture. This year, one of the Fund’s newest supporters is Blue Marble Brands, joining CCOF’s mission all the way from Providence, Rhode Island.   Last fall, Blue Marble supported CCOF through its Plant the Seed: Eat. Learn. Grow Organic retail promotion, created to help educate consumers about the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund and its...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 on CCOF, CCOF Foundation, events


Sophia Soctt 3

In partnership with the Organic Produce Network, the CCOF Foundation is hosting its annual "We Are Organic” Dinner at the Organic Grower Summit, December 12, 2018 at the Monterey Conference Center.  In addition to comments and speeches from organic industry leaders and Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund recipient Rhyne Cureton, this year’s dinner marks the first at which live music will accompany the 100% organic menu.   Sophia Scott, budding country music artist, has confirmed she will join the CCOF Foundation as its honored musical guest for the “We Are Organic” Dinner.   Musical guest Scott’...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, September 10, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, general organic


For all the philanthropic work Arnott and Kathleen Duncan do, it may surprise you to learn that they are farmers first and nonprofit professionals second. For nearly three decades, the Duncans have worked to educate the next generation of agriculture professionals. From offering educational farm tours in the past, to providing support for current employees and their families via Duncan Family Farms University, offering an Education Assistance Program for their employees, and even hosting a book drive that provided books to students in communities where they are rooted, Duncan Family Farms...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund


The CCOF Foundation supports students and teachers of organic agriculture across the United States. Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has distributed over $500,000, impacting over 33,000 teachers and students. Our support for the next generation of organic producers is made possible by the generous support of our partners. One of our partners, Organic Valley, has supported the CCOF Foundation since 2014.  Organic Valley and CCOF have similar histories. CCOF began 45 years ago, when six farmers in the Santa Cruz, California area realized action needed to be taken to protect the...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, July 23, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund


Haleigh Jones

Photo: Haleigh Jones, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund grant recipient You may have heard of the CCOF Foundation or our Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund or Organic Training Institute. You can support these programs by becoming a CCOF Foundation Member!  Your support of the CCOF Foundation can help you make an impact in the future of organic.  By becoming a CCOF Foundation Member, you will support our education and hardship assistance grants, technical assistance trainings, educational programs and events, and consumer education initiatives. Your Foundation...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, July 23, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, events


Photo Credit: Brianna Vereker Discretion Brewing, much like California Certified Organic Farmers, was founded around a kitchen table. Unlike CCOF’s first members who dreamt of creating an organic certification system, Rob, Kathleen, Lars, Brianna, and Dustin of Discretion Brewing dreamt of creating a business for their family to own and run together.  Discretion Brewing understands the power of beer to connect friends, family, and community members. In our fast-paced lives, it’s refreshing to find a business that encourages us to slow down and connect. Connect with us on Monday, August 6,...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, May 14, 2018 on farmers markets, general organic


Urban development of agricultural land is one of the biggest obstacles facing future farmers. Agriculture professionals found property much easier to find 20 years ago, when farmland was abundant, but today, as less agricultural land becomes available, the high cost of limited supply scares away budding potential farmers. One of the hardest parts of getting an organic farming business up and running now is not cost of labor, lack of consumers, or inability to find wholesale buyers for crops: it’s finding a place to start planting. Fortunately, Spade & Plow Organics was able to secure...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 23, 2018 on general organic, materials and inputs


“We want to put another dollar in the pockets of farmers.”  - Brian Dawson, Founder of HarvestPort   HarvestPort (a Visionary Level supporter of the CCOF Foundation) supports CCOF’s mission to educate future organic farmers, help consumers understand organic, assist organic farmers in need, and provide ongoing training for organic professionals. You may know HarvestPort from their groundbreaking work as a shared economy platform. What you may not know, however, is that CEO Brian Dawson and co-founder Chad Hokama have since found another way to serve the agricultural community. HarvestPort is...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 2, 2018 on CCOF, general organic, research


Photo Courtesy of Mycological Natural Products   An organic hotspot is defined as a county with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have a high level of organic activity. In a recent Pennsylvania State University study, agricultural economist Professor Edward Jaenicke released his findings that organic hotspots increase median household income by over $2,000 annually while simultaneously decreasing local poverty rates by as much as 1.35 percent. Professor Jaenicke shared his discoveries at our CCOF Annual Meeting and Conference last month, but the CCOF...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 26, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers

With fewer young people going into agriculture, many agricultural experts and sector leaders are concerned about the future of American farming. New organic farmers and entrepreneurs are needed to meet the demand for organic products that are healthy for both people and the planet. The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund helps grow the next generation of farmers by providing financial support for organic education from kindergarten through college! As of March 22, 2018, the CCOF Foundation is grateful and excited to welcome the following new supporters of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 19, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, events, general organic, grower, regulatory

The CCOF Foundation’s Organic Training Institute (OTI) is offering food safety workshops throughout 2018 that meet the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training requirement for produce growers.  Our most recent workshop was held near Fresno, California earlier this month.    FSMA is the first major overhaul to food safety regulations since 1938 and includes new regulations that directly impact growers of fresh produce. Produce farms that gross between $250,000-$500,000 in annual sales may be required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule to have a supervisor attend a Produce Safety Alliance (...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 19, 2018 on general organic, research


Blue House Farm in Pescadero, California   We recently held our annual meeting in Sacramento, California, to discuss the latest topics, trends, and challenges currently testing the world of organic agriculture. The theme was Organic Hotspots: Revitalizing Rural America, drawn from Professor Edward C. Jaenicke’s exciting research about the correlation between organic agricultural activity and economic development. Pennsylvania State University’s Jaenicke and co-author Julia Marasteanu’s research papers reveal exciting discoveries for the economies, communities, and people living near clusters...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 on CCOF, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Sophia Schlentz, Ava Mosely, Melody Meyer, Karen Ross, Bennie Hesser   On February 22, the CCOF Foundation raised a glass to our 2018 Organic Champion Award recipient Melody Meyer and our collective support of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund at our annual CCOF Foundation Feast.    Guests enjoyed an organic and locally sourced meal, along organic beer and wine generously donated by Bonterra Organic Vineyards and CCOF Board Representative Ted Vivatson of Eel River Brewing. Organic flowers from Javier Zamora at CCOF-certified JSM Organics and citrus donated from CCOF Board Representative...

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