ANAHEIM, Calif. — Members of Santa Cruz-based California Certified Organic Farmers heard about some of the organization’s accomplishments over that past year as well as challenges facing their industry at its annual meeting.
Will Daniels, chairman of the board of directors of CCOF Inc. and chief food integrity officer at Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, kicked off the March 5 meeting by outlining highlights of the past year, including the CCOF Foundation’s consumer education project and the organization’s advocating for organics in the new farm bill,
Jake Lewin, president of CCOF Certification Services LLC, talked about some of the services CCOF provides, including field-level GlobalG.A.P. pilot program and online tools that provide certification tracking.
He also looked at the challenges members face, like California’s ongoing drought and National Organic Program instruction document 4009 that requires growers to break apart some of the certifications that now are combined.
“It’s going to be a pressure on the organization and a change for our producers,” he said.
And Mexico has developed a set of organic standards that “require us to gain accreditation and approval in Mexico for the work we do in Mexico,” he said.
“That’s an area we’ll be expending resources to,” Lewin said.
Sixty-eight CCOF members met with elected representatives over the past year to share views on issues that affect organic farming, said Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director and chief executive officer.
Calfo pointed out that the organization’s 2,700 members are not limited to California.
“We have members all over the country,” she said.
Membership consists primarily of small growers, but they serve some of the largest name brands in the country, she said.
Keynote speaker was Rachal Surls, University of California cooperative extension agent in the Los Angeles region, and author of a book tentatively titled “From Cows to Concrete,” which traces the history of farming in the Los Angeles area.
“Farming the Urban Edge” was the theme of this year’s annual meeting.