Sep 6, 2018
Organic growers host Products Advisory Committee, staff
Members of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) and CCOF – a leader in advancing organic agriculture – hosted an organic farm tour for the offices of state and federal elected officials and California state agencies on Sept. 4,.
The tour was held the day before the COPAC meeting in Fresno, California. COPAC is comprised of 15 members and 15 alternates representing organic producers, wholesalers, technical representatives, environmental representatives, processors, consumers, retailers, and accredited organic certifiers. The committee advises the California Secretary of Agriculture on organic agriculture issues and the California State Organic Program (SOP).
Attendees learned about the challenges and opportunities of growing organic in California’s Central Valley. California leads the nation in organic sales with $14.55 billion in organic processed product and agricultural commodity sales, yet only 3.5 percent of the state’s agricultural land is farmed organically.
The tour began in Madera, California with visits to two certified organic farms: Food Commons Fresno and Braga Organic Farms. At midday, the tour visited California State University, Fresno to learn about their certified organic farm, hands-on student learning, and organic research. The final farm stop lay along the banks of the Kings River at Blossom Bluff Orchards, a stone fruit orchard.
The tour highlighted the diversified organic farming occurring in the San Joaquin Valley. Each stop on the tour visited an organic farm producing different types of crops: from leafy greens and vegetables to nuts and fruit. Attendees heard from farmers about a range of issues and how state policies can help grow organic in California’s Central Valley.