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Stakeholders Meet to Talk Organic Policy

By Haley Baron, Education and Research Program Associate

On September 18th and 19th, I had the privilege of joining CCOF staff and 13 other stakeholders at Paicines Ranch in Paicines, CA to discuss policy recommendations that will help build an organic California. Through facilitated discussion over the two days, we shared our perspectives on CCOF’s proposed policy initiatives and learned about one another across sectors. Our group was made up of farmers, social justice advocates, academics, legislators, agency staff, and leaders of membership organizations. The goal of the gathering was for CCOF to hear our opinions, experiences, and priorities before moving forward with future policy initiatives. 

Musings from the Office of Partnership Development

Introducing OFRF’s Featured Partner: OGEE
By Lola Dannehl-Schickman, Development and Partnerships Manager, OFRF

This month, I’m excited to highlight one of OFRF’s close partners, OGEE. An award-winning, 100% organic, cosmetic company, OGEE became OFRF’s first co-venture partner in 2016. Co-venture partnerships offer organic companies the opportunity to use OFRF branding on their products. By using our logo in their marketing, companies let consumers know they are dedicated to supporting the organic farmers who make their products possible. OFRF only offers this type of opportunity to companies with the highest organic integrity and we are proud of our partnership with OGEE. 

Panetta Joins OFRF Field Day at UCSC

On September 3rd, OFRF hosted a research field day at the UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden. Researchers and others from UCSC joined OFRF to talk with Congressman Jimmy Panetta about the highly innovative organic research taking place there, throughout his district, and across the U.S.

Seeking Abstracts for Organic Agriculture Research Forum

September 4, 2019 –The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Tuskegee University are pleased to announce the 2020 Organic Agriculture Research Forum (OARF) to be presented in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the 2020 SSAWG Conference.

Implications of the ERS Move to Kansas, an Update

By Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies, New York University, Board Member, OFRF​​​​​

Despite widespread opposition from researchers and members of Congress, along with questions of the legality of the move from the USDA’s inspector general, moving the Economic Research Service out of Washington DC and into Kansas City is well underway. Compounding the controversy is the bold statement of Mick Mulvaney, who, in early August, celebrated the move as an effective way to “drain the swamp.” 

New Soil Health and Organic Farming Guide Examines Soil Life

August 27, 2019—It is now widely understood that living healthy soil provides the foundation for successful farming, and supports plant, animal, and human life. However, while the concept of “feeding the soil” has been around for a long time, for many it is still uncharted territory.
 
To support farmers and ranchers in selecting the best management practices for building soil life and soil health, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has released the ninth topic in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series of guidebooks and webinars, Understanding and Optimizing the Community of Soil Life.  

Vitalis Celebrates 25thAnniversary Field Day

I had the pleasure of attending the Vitalis Organic Seed Field Day in San Juan Bautista, California on Thursday, August 15th. The company was founded in The Netherlands in 1994 and is a division of Enza Zaden, the global leader in organic seed production and breeding. All Vitalis varieties are certified organic and they work closely with regional organic seed dealers to serve the needs of open field, high tunnel, and greenhouse growers. It was interesting to learn about which traits are desirable for different regions and types of production. The future success of organic agriculture depends on breeders like Vitalis who work to develop new varieties for organic and low-external-input systems. 

Confused about Cover Crops? You’re Not Alone

Cover cropping is an important practice for building soil health, protecting the soil surface from erosion and compaction, and suppressing weeds and pests. Truly sustainable agriculture relies on maintaining effective vegetative cover of the soil, and the National Organic Standards require certified organic producers to include cover crops in their crop rotations.

New Training Program Offers Organic Basics for Beginning Farmers

August 13, 2019 - OFRF is excited to introduce the first learning module, Organic Soil Health Management, in its free online training program for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production. The content throughout the training program focuses on organic specialty crop production in California. 
 
“Healthy soils are the foundation of a successful organic farm, but determining which soil building practices will work best in a particular farming system can be challenging,” explains OFRF’s Education and Research Program Manager, Lauren Snyder. “The goal of this training program is to provide reliable information in one place and to highlight resources that help farmers assess which practices make the most sense for their system.”  

OFRF and FFAR Award Two New Grants that Tackle Soil Health Challenges

SANTA CRUZ AND WASHINGTON D.C. (August 1, 2019) - Soil health is a critical component of organic farm management. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) are funding two soil health research projects that examine how diversification practices control weeds and increase yields. OFRF and FFAR funded these two projects as part of a larger initiative to support soil health research and promote environmental sustainability. A grant to Dr. Jed Eberly at Montana State University was announced earlier this year.

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