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Written by Gaea Denker on Tuesday, April 9, 2024
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Phil LaRocca

Phil LaRocca is the founder of LaRocca Vineyards. He serves as chairman of the CCOF Board and has been an organic farmer for over 50 years.

“I have a firm belief about organic,” Phil says. “As a kid, I spent every weekend at my grandfather’s ranch in the Santa Clara Valley.” The whole family worked on the farm, picking cherries and helping with the harvest. Apricot season, when Phil was out of school, was his favorite. “I got the farming bug in me. I loved being out there with the trees.”

After World War II, federal officials tried to give Phil’s grandfather some excess…

Written by Hanali Lopez-Tapia on Tuesday, April 9, 2024
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Abigail Lazier, CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grantee

Utah native and Future Organic Farmer grantee Abigail Lazier’s earliest memory of farming is of running through her family’s garden as a child and collecting fresh carrots and ripe tomatoes. Lazier credits her family’s garden for planting the seed that propelled her into her organic farming career. Lazier describes, “As a child, the towering corn stalks of my home garden grew my curious imagination and fed my growing body in a partnership between my human and earthly mothers, and today, I have them to thank for helping to shape me into the avid gardener and plant geek I’ve become.”

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, April 9, 2024
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Marketing Survey

Need a boost with marketing your organic products? CCOF is developing resources to help your organic business succeed. The first step is gathering input from our members on their marketing practices, challenges, and needs through an online survey. The results will let us know what tools will be most helpful to you. These marketing tools will be available at no cost to all CCOF members in both Spanish and English in winter 2024.

Take the survey online. Dé clic aquí para iniciar la encuesta en español.  It should take three to five minutes to complete. We have already collected many…

Written by Gaea Denker on Monday, April 1, 2024
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Ted Vivatson is the founder of Eel River Brewing, America’s first certified organic brewery. He serves on the CCOF Board.

Ted Vivatson is the founder of Eel River Brewing, America’s first certified organic brewery. He serves on the CCOF Board.

Ted Vivatson’s love for quality beer evolved as organically as the company he created. A native of Danville, California, Ted spent a couple of years developing his palate for unique brews while serving his country in Germany in the early 70s.

“I was young, and America's big, corporate breweries hadn’t contaminated my palate for quality brews. I learned to savor and appreciate beer in a new light—not just by how many I could drink in a short time, but by…

Written by Jane Sooby and Laetitia Benador on Monday, April 1, 2024

The state of California joins in the national celebration of Agriculture Day each year with a gathering of farmers, ranchers, public agencies, state legislators, and agricultural organizations at the state capitol. This year’s Ag Day was on Tuesday, March 19; the theme was Next-Gen Tools, Talent & Tech. 

CCOF’s Senior Policy Manager Addison Peterson and Senior Policy Advocate Laetitia Benador attended Ag Day and helped staff a booth shared by partner organizations Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). They had…

Written by Larissa Hernandez on Monday, April 1, 2024
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Darlene Ruiz—Future Organic Farmer Grantee

As a small farm business owner, Darlene Ruiz has always wanted to promote organic agriculture through education. She does this both through her own family farm, as well as through her educational pursuits. “My goal is to connect people to their food sources and to connect people through food by creating opportunities to share knowledge and create memories which can make lasting impacts that benefit the community well-being and our environment.” 

Ruiz is currently putting this goal into action by studying for her basic crop inspection training through the IOIA, or the International…

Written by Gaea Denker on Monday, April 1, 2024
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Organic Rising Poster

Join CCOF for a special Santa Cruz premiere of ”Organic Rising,” the new feature-length film directed by Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winner Anthony Suau. 

Join us on May 3, 2024

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

At the RIO Theatre 

1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 

Purchase tickets online

There will also be a Q&A session featuring certified organic growers and Jessy Beckett Parr, Chief Program Officer for CCOF.

CCOF is excited to sponsor this film showing of “Organic Rising” in Santa Cruz. The film features CCOF-certified producers, as…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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Marketing Survey

CCOF is gathering input from our members on their marketing practices, challenges, and needs through an online survey. The information collected through the survey will be used to develop tools and resources to help your organic business succeed. These marketing tools will be available at no cost to all CCOF members in fall 2024.

Take the survey online. It should take three to five minutes to complete. We have already collected a few dozen responses from our members, and the results are very informative. Our goal is to gather input from 250 organic producers. We will share the…

Written by Cassie Kent on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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Sheila Wambui

As a child, Shelia Wambui lived in Kenya with her family, where they tended land, grew their own vegetables, and reared hundreds of chickens and a handful of pigs. She believes it is our responsibility to be ethical stewards for the environment and its inhabitants. Sheila values conscious farming practices because of their effect on all ecosystems. She notes that organic farming, by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, reduces harmful exposure to humans and waterways. Sheila envisions an agricultural system that protects the environment, the farmers, and the…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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Family Farmers

The Organic Farmers Association (OFA) has launched a new Farmer Circles program as part of their racial equity initiatives. 

Farmer Circles are virtual community-building spaces where farmers can come together to share their experiences, voice challenges, and make new connections. The Circles occur every month, and there is no cost to participate. 

OFA’s Farmer Circles recognize the distinct and unique needs, values, and experiences of different farmer identities. The Circles are intended to serve as a landing pad for farmers who are thinking about organic certification,…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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Urban_Innovation Ag Grant

The USDA is accepting applications for grants to support urban agriculture and innovative production. Applications for USDA’s Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production grants are due April 9, 2024, via grants.gov.

“This grant program has proven very popular and impactful in recent years, and we look forward to partnering with more communities nationwide to strengthen local food systems and increase access to healthy foods,” said Terry Cosby, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which leads USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (…

Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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Expo West Speaker Panel

CCOF hosted a panel discussion, “Transition to Organic: How Brands & Organizations Can Support Farmer Success,” at the Natural Products Expo West.

The USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt, together with Daily Harvest CEO Ricky Silver, Ryan Laur from American Farmland Trust, and CCOF’s Jessy Beckett Parr spoke about creative strategies to support successful organic transition efforts through public and private partnerships. 

The USDA, Daily Harvest, American Farmland Trust, and CCOF create programs that support farmers' transition to organic with direct financial…

Written by Cassie Kent on Tuesday, March 19, 2024
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Angie Oliva

Connection is the heartbeat of Angie Oliva’s organic journey. “The food is medicine mantra is very important, along with the revitalization of small farm businesses through America. So, when I look at the needs of our nation, and I notice how we’re connected to food, it’s those things that really drive me to be a part of organic farming”. 

Oliva ‘s first memories are of growing up in a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, in a rural agrarian village. After finishing her morning chores, she spent her days exploring cornfields, getting lost in the stalks, discovering the diversity of…

Written by Gaea Denker on Tuesday, March 19, 2024
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Nickie Salyer

Nickie Salyer is the Organic and Quality Systems Manager at Lundberg Family Farms. She serves on the CCOF Board.

Nickie Salyer grew up surrounded by agriculture. The year she was born, her father and grandfather started a hybrid sunflower seed company that filled her childhood with manufacturing and crop production. “I saw how sunflower seeds are produced, cleaned, and packaged—all those good things,” Nickie recalls. “My family would give me a dollar an hour if I swept the warehouse.”

Her early exposure to the cycle of crop production guided Nickie into a life of…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, March 19, 2024
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cow in field

The National Organic Program has released the agenda for the spring National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Meeting, which will be held April 29 through May 1, 2024, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

The deadline to register for oral comment and to submit written comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 3, 2024. More information on registering and submitting comments is below. See the USDA website for information on attending the meeting in person.

The NOSB is a federal advisory board that makes recommendations on organic standards and materials to the USDA secretary. During the…