This past Wednesday, I was up at the state capital for CCOF’s policy day. The day began with a keynote address by the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross. She spoke about how California led the way for the national organic program and how certified organics have grown over the years.
Next many CCOF certified growers/ handlers and I headed to the offices of our elected officials. We met with senators and assembly members to share our stories of successes and challenges in the organic industry. We asked each senator and assembly member to support our request to host a joint informational hearing on the economic challenges and opportunities of organic agriculture in California.
It may seem odd to request an informational hearing on organics but during our meetings it was clear that our elected officials are not only unfamiliar with the facts and figures regarding certified organic agriculture but they were uninformed about the challenges currently effecting farmers both new and established. To me this reinforced the importance of these meetings as a way for our elected officials to see the faces of organic production in California. Even in our age of technology with multiple ways to communicate, a face to face meeting is still the best way to communicate your message.