For Immediate ReleaseMarch 17, 2015
Certification program seen as a global leader
San Rafael, CA – Long before the organic products movement swept the nation, Marin County farmers were charging ahead to protect their small, sustainable farms from big agriculture. Marin Organic Certified Agriculture (MOCA), a division of the County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures, was established in 2000 as the state’s first county-run organic farm certifier, along with Monterey County. The program certifies 53 farms and about 40,000 acres in Marin and Sonoma.
On March 17, Marin County Supervisors passed a resolution commending MOCA’s efforts and the County’s more than 40 years of making Marin a global leader in organic agriculture.
The total gross value of all certified organic products from Marin was more than $93 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year, and there is a constant demand for MOCA organic certification services. Marin is one of only three counties in the state that offers voluntary organic certification services for local producers through its agriculture department, and MOCA represents the largest agricultural program for Marin in terms of time, staff and expenditures. This, Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen explained in his presentation, is truly representative of Marin’s commitment to organic.
Jeffrey Westman, Executive Director of Marin Organic, mentioned that MOCA is an internationally recognized program. “I lived in Europe for years, and let me tell you, Marin County was really seen as the goal (in developing an organic certification program),” he said.
“Today’s presentation is a celebration of not only our long history (in organic agriculture), but of our core values as a community,” said Supervisor Steve Kinsey, whose District 4 encompasses the agricultural communities of West Marin.
Beyond the immediate benefits of the products, organic farming has become an emblem of sustainability and represents a way of life for many in West Marin. Carlsen added that the County has a responsibility to support continued efforts to make organic products more readily available to all residents so they can enjoy their benefits while supporting local and sustainable agriculture. Finally, organic farming can save thousands of gallons of water — crucial in a drought-stricken state — and help to protect Marin’s farmland soil and ecosystem for generations of farmers to come.
“This is our commitment to future generations that will depend on this land,” echoed Kinsey in his closing comments.
Though MOCA receives operational funding from the County, at the core of the program’s success is the community’s continued support and demand for fresh, local, organic foods. Marin is home to 12 certified weekly farmers markets, half of which run year-round. The other six start in May.
Stacy CarlsenCommissionerDepartment of Agriculture, Weights and Measures
1682 Novato Blvd.Suite 150-ANovato, CA 94947(415) 473-6700Email: Stacy CarlsenAWM website