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Supporting Small-Scale BIPOC Farmers’ Transition to Organic

by Adrian Fischer |

Supporting Small-Scale BIPOC Farmers’s Transition to Organic Conference Speakers. Left to Right: Yadira Mendiola (Queen of Vegetables and CCOF grantee), Adrian Fischer (Program Director, CCOF Foundation), Christina Guitierez Williams (Daily Harvest), Deborah Nares (American Farmland Trust)

CCOF was proud to partner with American Farmland Trust and Daily Harvest to hold a panel at EcoFarm on January 18 entitled Supporting Small-Scale BIPOC Farmers’ Transition to Organic

In the session, Adrian Fischer, (program director, CCOF Foundation), presented on the approach to this work and led the panel discussion on the collaborative effort to support small-scale farmers’ transition to organic with direct financial support, one-on-one technical assistance, market access support, and mentorship opportunities. The audience learned about the challenges and wins this developing program has revealed over its first two years focusing on the potential for improving market access for small-scale producers. Speakers included Deborah Nares (American Farmland Trust), Christina Guitierez Williams (Daily Harvest), and Yadira Mendiola (Queen of Vegetables).

Yadira Mendiola, a CCOF certified producer and grantee, shared her journey transitioning to organic and how the support network (that CCOF is a part of) has been instrumental for her to succeed. In her heartfelt address to the audience, she said, “I am very grateful for the [CCOF Organic Transition] grant, as it helped me take a step forward. It was really a big step forward. And I want to keep going; I want to reach my goal. I want to stay organic for a better world.”

CCOF can only do this as part of a larger ecosystem that includes private and public partnerships where donors, service providers, and the community come together to bolster our farmers to go organic and stay organic. While not part of this panel, some of our partners who are key to the success of the program and of farmers like Yadira are ALBA (Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association), KTA (Kitchen Table Advisors), California FarmLink, and GrubMarket (a major donor to the Organic Transition Program).