Organic farmers formed CCOF in 1973 to define uniform organic farming standards and establish a certification system. Twenty years,serveral thousand inspections and many thousands of grower volunteer hours later,we feel we have one of the finest programs around.
CCOF is a non-profit grass-roots ,democratically organized and voluntary association of organic farmers and organic food processors. CCOF is the largest statewide organization of organic producers in the nation, the primary certification and trade association for organic farmers in California and a major representative for the organic foods industry.
Our purpose is to promote and support a healthful ,ecologically accountable ,and permanent agriculture in California and elsewhere :to develop standards and certification programs for organic farming and processing of organic foods: to provide verification of adherence to those standards for distributors ,retailers,and consumers to share ideas and information
CCOF bases its certification program on the premise that legitimate organic growers, handlers and processors, no matter what scale of operation, benefit from a marketplace that demands independent verification of organic claims. CCOF believes that only a strong verification system with on-site annual inspection protects consumers, growers, processors and handlers from false claims.
The following are some of the concepts and practices that are fundamental to organic production and should be the backbone of a certified grower's farming system. The Certification Handbook Bibliography provides sources of in-depth information that could prove valuable in making an organic operation a success.
In an annual cropping system: -Legumes used as green manures cover crops or permanent understory improve fertility; Allelopathic crops that exude toxins from their roots can suppress weeds and insect pests. Diversity of crops in both time and space prevents insect and disease buildups and gives a grower a hedge against poor market conditions for any one crop.
In a perennial or permaculture system: -Cover crops are used to hold the soil improve fertility and provide habitat for benefical insects: A diversity of plants including polycultures, hedgerows and windbreaks help ensure that no one factor such as a pest or a weed can throw the system off balance.
Rotation and diversification are key principles in an ecological farming system
Pest-free and weed-free fields are neither always possible nor economically and ecologically desirable. Learning the thresholds for tolerable levels of weeds,insects,birds,and rodents takes time and experience and is an on-going process.
Varietal selection should look beyond maximum potential yield and consider insect and disease resistance, nutritional quality, flavor and positive response to lower inputs of nutrients and water.
Pest problems can be minimized by proper timing of plantings and the use of trap crops to attract pests and beneficals alike.
Materials are not used as the primary management strategy, but rather as an aid to resolving a specific problem until the farm system can be brought back into balance.
Livestock managemant is based on good nutrition, animal stress reduction, preventative medicine and other means not dependent on drugs or pesticides.
Livestock breeding selects for disease resistance.
CCOF routinely makes the following information in an operation's file available to the public: operation name,address,phone,total acreage farmed,organic acreage farmed,crops grown,growing practices,inspection date,inspector's name,parcel identification,dates of last prohibited material use,certification status and conditions for certification.
Go back to Noah Ark homepage