Sep 14, 2020
Organic farms hurt by wildfire qualify for California Certified Organic Farmers’ financial help
California Certified Organic Farmers

The  California Certified Organic Farmers’ (CCOF) Foundation is poised to help organic farmers recover from the unprecedented wildfires burning across the West Coast and in CCOF’s own hometown of Santa Cruz, California. The CCOF Foundation’s Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund gives grants to organic business owners affected by hardships of all kinds, including wildfires, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2007, the CCOF Foundation has distributed $210,000 to farmers, but this challenging year has already resulted in a four-fold increase in applications for financial assistance. It is yet to be seen how the fires will further increase applications to the fund, but organic supporters can help meet this increased need by making donations to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund. 100% of donations to the fund go directly to organic farmers and business owners.

“California’s Central Coast is one of our most robust areas of organic producers, including many of the farmers who founded CCOF. And as the leading state in organic production, we expect to see many organic farmers across California who will need support to rebuild,” said CCOF CEO Kelly Damewood. “We have already received a record number of applications to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund this year as a result of COVID-19, and we expect to be inundated with more requests for help as a result of the fires.”

Earlier this year, CCOF chapters—made up of CCOF-certified organic business owners—contributed some of their own chapter resources to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund in order to reach even more farmers in this year of great need. “People often overlook organic farmers during times of crisis, and we don’t have the same resources and support programs as other farmers. Every penny of assistance makes a difference for farmers hit by disaster. We are already operating on such tight margins to produce healthy food, sometimes we need a little help to make it through the hard times and keep our communities going,” explained CCOF Board of Directors Chair and organic farmer and winemaker Phil LaRocca.

CCOF alone certifies over 700 organic businesses in California’s Central Coast and North Coast regions who may be impacted by fire or smoke, in addition to organic farmers and processors certified by other agencies across the state.

Donate today to help organic farmers affected by the wildfires across the West Coast at www.ccof.org/donate—the full amount of each donation goes directly to the farmers who need it. When recovery begins, the CCOF Foundation will be there as one of the helping hands for organic farmers.

For more information about the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund, visit www.ccof.org/bricmont. The next grant application cycle ends November 20, 2020.

Above, an aerial view from an Interagency air resource fighting the Aurora Fire in June, 2020. Photo: InciWeb


CCOF advances organic agriculture for a healthy world. We advocate on behalf of our members for organic policies, support the growth of organic through education and grants, and provide organic certification that is personal and accessible. CCOF is a nonprofit organization governed by the people who grow and make our food. Founded in California more than 40 years ago, today our roots span the breadth of North America and our presence is internationally recognized. We are supported by an organic family of farmers, ranchers, processors, retailers, consumers, and policymakers. Together, we work to realize a future where organic is the norm. For more information about CCOF, visit www.ccof.org.
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