California Certified Organic Farmers
1115 Mission Street
Santa Cruz,California 95060
phone (408)423-2263
fax (408)423-4528


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

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

Why be certified

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.

Basic Concepts

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.

Recommended Practices

Green manures and leguminous cover crops: composted animal manures:bacterial inoculants for soil,legumes,and compost,soy, cottonseed and vegetable meal, blood, fish or feather meal: and foliar sprays in conjuction with a soil building program.
Composted manures high in phosphorus (poulty,guano):colloidal ,soft and hard rock phosphate :mycorrhizae to activate rock phosphate.
Cover crops that activate potassium:mined granite,greensand, basalt, feldspar,langbeinite and potassium sulfate.
(Calicium Magnesium and Sulfur):Kelp and seaweed extracts and powders:dolomite,gypsum,keiserite,langbeinite,limestone,potassium sulfate and rock phosphate from mined sources:oyster,clam,lobster and crab shells:composts made from a variety of materials.
Liquid or powdered seaweed extract,kelp meal,rock powders,chelates made with natural chelating agents.
Herbal preparations, seaweed extract, Rhizobial inoculants, Bio-dynamic preparations,blue-green alge, humates, naturally occurring microbes
Rotations with competitive cover crops,timely mowing or cultivation, mulching with organic materials, living mulches, weeder geese, grazing, careful sanitation to prevent introduction of weed seeds.
Resistant varieties:sanitation:cultural practices that favor the crop,hinder the pathogen and create an enviroment unfavorable for disease development: biological control agents:and least toxic chemicals derived from natural sources.
Preventive management such as use of resistant varieties, timing to avoid cycles of pests emergence, intercropping, rotations, balanced plant nutrition, herbal sprays, rock powders,diatomaceous earth, dormant oils, parasitic nematodes, introduction of predators, habitat enhancement to encourage benefical predators, sticky traps ,microbial and viral disease.
Traps, repellent crops, sound.
Good sanitation, refrigeration, pheromone trapping
See Livestock Standards in handbook.
The following practices are considered mechanical and cultural and therefore allowed for use in "CCOF certified production. They must not be used in conjunction with prohibited materials. Allelopathic Crops,Balloons,Barriers,Bird Traps and Netting,Cover Crops,Crop Rotation,Cultivation,Dogs and other guard Animals,Dust Suppression,Electrical Devices,Explosive Devices,Flaming,Grazing,Green Manures,Guns(Lead Shot Discouraged),Hand Removal of Insects,Intercropping,Light,Nitrogen Fixing Crops,Noise,Orchard Heaters,Predators,Resistant Varieties,Rodent traps,Row Covers,Sanitary Practices,Solarization,Thermal Weed Control,Traps,Trap Crops,Weeder Geese and Other Fowl,Wind Machines.

Information Routinely Available to the Public

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.

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