Organic food is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. food market. Organic food sales were up 8.4% from 2016 to 2017, beating the 0.6% growth in the overall U.S. food market by a wide margin. According to the Organic Trade Association, 90% of all households in California currently buy some certified Organic products. The benefits of Organic ripple out into the community: a recent study by Penn State titled “U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies” found that counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity show a $2000 increase in median household income and as much as a 1.3% reduction in poverty levels.
At Sierra Harvest, we are excited to support our local farmers to certify Organic and be recognized for their commitment to environmental stewardship and health and bring this great economic growth right to our doorsteps!
We have heard from farmers that the process to gain Organic certification seems complicated and expensive. “There isn’t enough time in the day for all of the paperwork” and “where do I even begin?!”
The answer: The Organic Certification Intensive!
With generous support from Simply Organic, Sierra Harvest will host a 3-part training for farmers designed to walk them through the process of certifying Organic. The Intensive will begin with a 3-hour class on April 17th, lead by local certification specialists Paul Glowaski and Seth Rosmarin. Between the two, they’ve inspected thousands of Organic farms. Farmers will learn how to choose a certifying agency, design an Organic Site Plan (OSP) and submit an application for certification. They’ll also learn about the various cost-share and fee-waiver programs that may help decrease the cost of certifying Organic.
Following this fantastic class, farmers will have two one-on-one consultations to work specifically on their own applications- the first with Farm Institute Director, Molly Nakahara, who, while not working at Sierra Harvest, runs her own certified Organic farm. The second consultation will be with the experts – an hour-long meeting with Paul or Seth to answer all the questions. Farmers will leave the Intensive confident that their farms will soon be certified Organic.
The cost to farmers is $60 for the entire Intensive (and covers participation for up to 2 people per farm.)