Santa Cruz, CA (PRWEB) June 28, 2012
CCOF, the nation’s leader in organic certification, has launched “Why Buy Certified Organic?,” a consumer awareness campaign begun as summer’s organic fruits and vegetables are filling farmers’ markets and grocery stores.
The campaign features distribution of informational postcards that explain what “certified organic” means and how to find products that meet these standards in markets. The promotion kicks off at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 30, at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, one of the top farmers’ markets in the state and nationwide.
Organic farmers John Garrone and Carl Rosato will be joined by CCOF representatives at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, located at San Francisco’s Ferry Building (where Market Street ends at the Embarcadero).
“We want to help shoppers who may encounter confusing labels such as ‘pesticide free,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘sustainable,’” said CCOF Executive Director Cathy Calfo. “We want consumers to know that when they see the CCOF or USDA certified organic logo, they are truly getting organic products because our farmers must meet strict, verifiable farming practices to be allowed to display that label.”
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is run by CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating a healthy food system through the operation of the tri-weekly market and its education programs. Dave Stockdale, CUESA's Executive Director, said CUESA supports CCOFs new campaign because “it's important that our shoppers understand how their food is produced. CCOF's Organic Certification is a standard that consumers can trust and the new postcards will help our shoppers understand the purchasing choices they are making.”
“By being certified organic we can ensure to our customers that we provide healthy, quality products that are produced without synthetic inputs,” added Garrone, owner of Far West Fungi. “Farmers’ markets allow farmers to develop a one-on-one relationship with customers and help educate them on the value of certified organic products. I’m glad CCOF is helping educate consumers to be sure of what they’re buying.”
Garrone runs a 25-year-old, family-owned farm that grows over 40 types of organic mushrooms, including Shiitake, Tree Oyster, Lions Mane, Maitake, and King Oyster. Rosato has farmed organically for 30 years, producing apples, pears, cherries, and peaches – 200 varieties of organic fruit in all. He recently was named a Steward of Sustainable Agriculture, an industry award given for his advocacy and organic farming research.
Farmers’ markets received negative attention two years ago when a few vendors were discovered passing off conventionally-grown produce as “pesticide free.” CCOF’s “Why Buy Certified Organic?” campaign is part of its ongoing education efforts to inform consumers, help shoppers, and restore confidence.
In a previous educational effort, CCOF distributed Farmers’ Market Best Practices Guidelines to their clients, and market managers. The photo-illustrated guidelines outline how to clearly display, identify, and label organic and non-organic produce, and suggest prohibiting terms like “no spray” or “pesticide free.” Many market sellers and managers have put these guidelines into use.
In the newest campaign, postcards will be given out by farmers selling organic products throughout California, including the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco; other Bay Area farmers’ markets; markets in Sonoma, Windsor, Modesto, La Mesa, Oceanside, Poway, Chico, Los Osos, Paso Robles, Cambria, and Templeton; plus Arizona markets – Town & Country in Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale Farmers’ Market.
Information on the postcard explains that products displaying the CCOF logo meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements for organically certified products and were reviewed by CCOF, a USDA-accredited certifier. Such foods must be produced without harmful or toxic pesticides, sewage sludge, petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers, radiation, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy must come from animals not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
Buying certified organic keeps additional antibiotics and hormones out of the food supply chain, limits the spread of genetically modified crops, and protects the environment, the postcard says.
Copies of the postcard are available online.
CCOF http://www.ccof.org (California Certified Organic Farmers), a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1973 and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest third-party organic certifying agencies. CCOF certifies, educates, advocates, and promotes organic through: