Posted on March 17, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

Organic pioneer makes appeal to create an ‘Organic California’

CCOF shuts office amid Covid-19 pandemic, cautions members on delays

CCOF Certification Services LLC, one of the largest U.S. organic certifiers, said Monday it has closed its office in Santa Cruz, Calif., and staff is now working from home in an effort to keep its staff, their loved ones, and the community as safe as possible from the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

“Please note that our response time may be slower than usual to your requests, especially with school and childcare closures impacting our team members,” the company said. “Our greatest strengths – compassion, practicality, and preparedness – will serve us better than fear and isolation as Covid-19 strikes close to home. Ultimately, we will experience Covid-19 as a community, and we will get through it as a community: together.”

CCOF said its certified members should note the following:

  • We cannot accept two-day Rush requests. We can accept 5-day Rush requests.
  • Export documents may be delayed by a day or two. Please submit them as early as possible.
  • Your annual inspection may take an additional 30 days to review. If you need a new certificate in the meantime, please email inbox@ccof.org.
  • Organic inspection appointments may be impacted to protect both your health and the inspector’s health. Certified members with upcoming inspections will be notified by email and phone if their inspection appointment will be changed. We ask that you cancel your inspection if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, and we are also happy to help you reschedule if you have other COVID-19 concerns. Email inspectionoperations@ccof.org for assistance.
For CCOF operations impacted by Covid-19 and needing additional support, such as due date extensions, please contact CCOF at (831) 423-2263 or inbox@ccof.org.

Meanwhile, CCOF also published an open letter from organic farming pioneer Bob Quinn, who runs the Quinn Organic Research Center in Big Sandy, Montana, and who recently co-authored a new book titled Grain by Grain.

Here’s Quinn’s letter:

As an organic farmer at home in Montana of over 30 years, I see firsthand the bounty created from tending to the land in an organic manner. Butterflies, bees, ladybugs, birds, and countless other creatures are drawn to the land tended organically. Those who work on the soil every day can feel its soft, supple nature underneath their boots. The palpable feeling of health and vitality pouring out of an organic farm is unmatched. That said, there is also science to stand behind the claim that organic is a more sustainable, climate-smart approach to our food system, pieced together in the beautiful Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report.

I’ve traveled all over the world promoting organic agriculture, and just returned from Europe, where a model of smart agriculture is played out across their entire food system. Organic and biodynamic agriculture is now found on 16 percent of Europe’s total farmland, and California is on its way toward a similar share of organic acreage through CCOF’s Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report.

You see, it’s easy enough to say, “Here’s why organic agriculture makes a difference,” but it’s quite another to make vetted suggestions to California’s state legislature. Given how much demand there is for organic product, and how many households are purchasing organic every time they go shopping (89 percent), California is wise to start adopting policies that support its organic farmers and farmland so that more of the organic food eaten in California is produced in the state rather than being supplied by exports. We are moving toward solutions, together. I have deep ties to California since I spent seven years of my life here, mostly attending graduate school at the University of California, Davis and have longed appreciated the role CCOF has played in the organic movement in California and throughout the nation.

I encourage you to make a donation to the CCOF Foundation in support of the next phase of the Roadmap to an Organic California project. The Benefits Report and Policy Report have been created, and now it is time to coalesce and use organic as a solution to fight climate chaos, restore economic stability to our farms and rural areas, reduce chemical pollution in our nation, and release the grip of chronic disease on our people. Thank you for investing in a stable future for those who grow and eat the food born out of this beautiful California soil.

Your friend,

Bob Quinn, Ph.D.

Big Sandy, Montana

All donations to the CCOF Foundation are tax-deductible. The CCOF Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (tax ID #30-0106255). 

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