Susan Truscott proudly displaying an article about her farm in the Edible East Bay magazine.

When I asked Susan Truscott, longtime operator of Cloverfield Organic Farm in El Sobrante, California, for permission to share her story, she responded without hesitation: “I’m happy to use my voice to encourage other farmers to make the switch. Together we can all make a difference!”

Susan is a hero. After reading about our campaign to educate organic farmers and ethical business owners about some of the largest organic certifiers (including CCOF and Oregon Tilth) betraying our values by certifying giant livestock factories and giant soilless hydroponic industrial greenhouses, she took action.

Not only did she research reputable alternative certifiers (with help from OrganicEye), she also corresponded with other California organic farmers to encourage them to switch as well.

Together, the organic farming community has clout. With our cumulative marketplace power and our certification dollars, we can send a message to the bad actors and reward the heroes.

Susan chose the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) as her new certifier. They are on the list of high-integrity certifiers that we published to help guide farmers. Coincidentally, I was also certified by OCIA when I was farming thirty-five years ago. Back then — prior to the passage by Congress of the Organic Foods Production Act — certification was voluntary. Now it is mandatory and administered by the USDA.

Since OrganicEye published our research and the associated formal legal complaints filed regarding CCOF (the $27 million a year certifier) and Oregon Tilth (a multimillion-dollar enterprise certifying multibillion-dollar corporate agribusinesses), we’ve heard from many farmers interested in switching certifiers. Some have expressed ongoing dissatisfaction with their certifiers over many years.

If you are farming and have questions about flexing your economic muscles by making the transition to an ethical partner in certification, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are available for a confidential consultation at no charge.

Thank you to all our farmer-members for growing the best, most nutritious, and safest organic food!

Mark Kastel
Executive Director

PS: If you are a consumer/eater and loyal customer of organic farmers, please stand by. Shortly we will provide information to help you choose the best, authentic brands, using the required certification disclosure on every product label as a guide. And there will be a couple of important opportunities coming up where we can all make a difference by banding together and making our voices heard in Washington.

Who owns the organic label? We all do!

Hi, Farmers and Friends,

Today I have submitted our application to be certified organic by OCIA International. OCIA provides a higher level of USDA NOP certification compared to CCOF. CCOF has not been following the highest standards of organic certification and CCOF has been influenced by corrupt business practices by allowing hydroponics, growing of crops outside of soil, and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Our current organic certifiers are CCOF and the Real Organic Project. The Real Organic Project (ROP) also upholds high ethical and organic standards, but ROP is an add-on certification and doesn’t stand on its own. We are also registered as an organic farm by the State of California.

Our CCOF organic certification will be active and in force until the end of this year. If all goes well, our annual USDA NOP organic farm inspection will be scheduled later this year, and our new inspector will be from OCIA rather than CCOF. Eventually, once certified by OCIA, we will need to change our forms, website, signs, and labels to reflect our new certifying agency. I’m excited and proud to be continuously upholding the highest standards for our organic farm. You can also feel proud to be part of our farm and doing good for the earth and each other.

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm. I’ll keep you updated as we go through our new certification process.