Celebrating Melody Meyer & The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund

This article was originally published on www.ccof.org

On February 22, the CCOF Foundation raised a glass to our 2018 Organic Champion Award recipient Melody Meyer and our collective support of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund at our annual CCOF Foundation Feast.

Guests enjoyed an organic and locally sourced meal, along organic beer and wine generously donated by Bonterra Organic Vineyards and CCOF Board Representative Ted Vivatson of Eel River Brewing. Organic flowers from Javier Zamora at CCOF-certified JSM Organics and citrus donated from CCOF Board Representative Vernon Peterson from Abundant Harvest and Homegrown Organics adorned the room.

The program was kicked off with remarks from CCOF Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo and the CCOF Foundation Board of Trustees Chair and organic farmer Allen Harthorn from Harpos Organics.

Guests also had the pleasure of hearing from several recipients of Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund grants. Educator Kevin Hesser from Calaveras High School and Calaveras County FFA students Ava Mosely, Sophia Schlentz, and Bennie Hesser each gave passionate speeches about their work in organic agriculture and the role the grant played in helping them learn more about organic. These phenomenal students left every guest inspired and hopeful about the future of organic.

Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross took the stage to present this year’s Organic Champion Award. The Organic Champion Award recognizes an individual or organization that has helped make the work of the CCOF Foundation possible. This year’s recipient was Melody Meyer, who was an instrumental in helping form the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, and whose steadfast support has ensured its success.

Meyer began her career in the organic industry in 1976, long before many consumers even knew what the word “organic” meant. From buying produce from local farmers and paying them well enough to expand their own enterprises, to founding her own business (Source Organic), to importing international produce from Latin America to the United States, Meyer has worked in nearly every realm of the organic supply chain. Read Meyer’s full speech from the event on her blog.

Meyer is currently Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods (UNFI) and Executive Director of the UNFI Foundation. Meyer was one of the first supporters of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, which has made 247 grants to date to students and teachers of organic agriculture, totaling $400,000. The CCOF Foundation was pleased to honor Meyer and her influential career in organic agriculture!

Each guest left with a wooden serving spoon, with the words “Support Organic Farmers” engraved on the side. An important reminder of the work we can do each day to continue to advance organic agriculture!

The CCOF Foundation extends sincere gratitude to all our Foundation Members who made this event possible. We give a special thanks to our Visionary Members: the Organic Produce Network (OPN), HarvestPort, and Patagonia. These events and the CCOF Foundation programs are also made possible with support from Driscoll’s, Earthbound Farm, the Harbourton Foundation, Grimmway/Cal-Organic, Sunview Vineyards, JSM Flowers, Bolthouse Farms, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Fagundes Dairy, Farm Credit, Gaia Fund, Tanimura & Antle, True Organic Products, Valent, Whole Foods Market, Abundant Harvest Organics, Anthony Vineyards, Baugher Ranch Organics, Braga Fresh Family Farms/Josie’s Organics, Good Earth Natural Foods, Heath & Lejeune, Kochergen Farms Composting, Mission Ranches, MOM’s Organic Market, Organic Valley, Panorama Meats, Sambrailo Packaging, Straus Family Creamery, Taylor Brothers Farms, Top Brass Marketing, Traditional Medicinals, UNFI, Val-Mar Farms, Vitalis, and Wilbur-Ellis.

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