Pandemic, wildfires tax organic group CCOF’s disaster relief

Pandemic, wildfires tax organic group CCOF’s disaster relief

The CCOF Foundation is helping organic farmers affected by California wildfires.

The foundation’s Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund awards grants to organic businesses affected by hardships including fires, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from CCOF, an organic certifier.

The CCOF Foundation has distributed $210,000 to farmers since 2007, but this year has already seen more than four times the number of applications for financial assistance, according to a news release.

“California’s Central Coast is one of our most robust areas of organic producers, including many of the farmers who founded CCOF,” Kelly Damewood, CCOF CEO, said in the release. “And as the leading state in organic production, we expect to see many organic farmers across California who will need support to rebuild.”

The organization expects to be inundated by requests as a result of the fires, according to the release.

CCOF Chapters, groups of business owners certified through the organization, contributed to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund this year to stretch COVID-19 pandemic resources.

“We are already operating on such tight margins to produce healthy food, sometimes we need a little help to make it through the hard times and keep our communities going,” Phil LaRocca, chairman of the CCOF board, said in the release.

Fires disrupted CCOF operations in August; response times are still affected, due to the aftermath of Santa Cruz area fires, where it is based.

Donations can be sent to the foundation; all of the donated funds go directly to growers, according to the release.

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