Organic Agriculture in California
California leads the nation in the production of organic crops, and the consumption of organic food, as well as serving as the headquarters for some of the largest and most-loved organic brands in the world. The diversity of organic crops and food produced here is second to none.
The organic market relies on California organic production. From fresh produce distributed across the country and in export markets, to crops that become ingredients in consumer packaged goods, California agriculture is pivotal in meeting increased global demand for organic products. As the market continues to grow it is paramount that California organic agriculture grows with it. Advancing all aspects of organic production (i.e. acres, operators, diversity, complexity) requires that California organic farmers have the research and technical assistance necessary for economic and agronomic resiliency. Increased capacity within the University of California ensures the research, extension, and technological innovation needed by organic farmers and the supply chains into which their products are sold.
Creation of the UC Organic Agriculture Institute
The UC Organic Agriculture Institute (OAI) was formed in January 2020, and is the result of a partnership between Clif Bar & Co. and the University of California Office of the President, who provided matching funds to Clif Bar & Co.'s generous endowment to support the creation of the OAI. Broadly, the goal of the OAI is to serve California organic farmers and those in transition to organic with technical assistance, applied research, and new information networks that will improve their long-term success in organic production systems. The OAI will be a hub for farmers, researchers, and industry to develop practical, site-specific solutions and trainings. Ultimately, the OAI's work will increase the performance of organic farming for improved stewardship of natural resources, the economic well-being of rural communities, and greater stability for the next generation of California farmers.
To achieve success, the OAI will leverage assets of UC ANR, as well as public and private funding, to meet the needs of a diverse organic sector in California. The OAI will also provide guidance and input on state and federal policies that can multiply its impact.