policy

Take Action for Organic!

Working with the natural landscape at 123 Farm. Photo by Liz Birnbaum at The Curated Feast

We need you to take action for organic. Join the virtual listening session on February 22, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. PST and tell the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) that organic agriculture is regenerative and that the state’s definition of regenerative should start with organic certification.

Alert! Your Voice on Regenerative Agriculture Matters

The State of California is defining regenerative agriculture. So far, state officials have recommended a big-tent definition that includes a broad array of California producers. What is missing from this perspective is how a loose definition of regenerative will impact organic producers. What will it mean for California-approved regenerative products to compete with USDA organic? Especially if the standards are not comparably rigorous?

Bridging the Gap: CCOF Members Advocate for a Guest Worker Program That Serves All

Organic farmers face a unique set of challenges, many of which revolve around the critical issue of labor. As I delved into the CCOF Labor Survey, a common theme emerged—a call for a guest worker program that supports the needs of both farmers and farmworkers. CCOF members vocalized the need for a guest worker program that is accessible, especially for small-scale farmers, and that supports the livelihoods of farmworkers. 

Call to Action: Attend State Listening Session on Defining Regenerative Agriculture, December 6

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The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), in collaboration with the State Board of Food and Agriculture, will be hosting the first of five public listening sessions on December 6, 2023, via Zoom to receive comments that will help define “regenerative agriculture” for state policies and programs.

Meet Apolinar “Poli” Yerena, Watsonville Farmer and Community Member

(Apolinar next to bean plants at his farm in Watsonville, California)

Farmers are an essential part of their communities. Apolinar “Poli” Yerena, owner of Yerena Farms, has been farming organically in the Watsonville community since 2010. For Poli, farming is more than a business, it is a way of life. 

Lessons From the Field: What I Learned From Surveying Organic Producers

Organic Transition Grantee Alejandro Salazar installs an irrigation pipe by hand with his daughter, Fatima Salazar.

Labor is one of the challenges we hear the most about. Organic producers make a commitment to grow and raise food using ecological methods, and one of the trade-offs is that organic farms have higher labor demands to maintain such practices. To dive deeper into the challenges organic producers are facing, I’ve surveyed organic producers across crop type, scale, and geography. 

We Need Your Help To Tell the State That Organic IS Sustainable Pest Management

The Department of Pesticide Regulation is hosting a series of public meetings to hear feedback on their strategic plan. This plan will set their agenda for the next five years, and organic is not mentioned at all. In fact, the Department intends to create new certifications for sustainable pest management—making farmers jump through more hoops. Please consider joining a public meeting and telling the Department that organic certification is the sustainable pest management certification.

California Senate Agriculture Committee Passes AB 408 To Fund Resilient Agriculture and Healthy Food Access

California Assembly Bill 408—the Climate-Resilient Farms, Sustainable Healthy Food Access, and Farmworker Protection Bond Act of 2024—was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on July 3, 2023. The bill, which is authored by Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) and Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael), proposes a $3.4 billion bond to fund programs that support resilient agriculture and healthy food access in California.

The bond would be used to fund projects in four areas:

How CCOF Nourishes

A good meal is transformative. The light crunch of a fried latke smothered in tangy applesauce roots me in my cultural inheritance and branches me outward. Preparing this salty–sweet comfort food, I get to know local growers at the farmers’ market and appreciate each season’s bounty. My organic potatoes and apples regenerate soil and water health and safeguard against harmful pesticides. Good food grounds us in our bodies and connects us to the people and world around us.