The impacts of COVID-19 continue to multiply and deepen. On behalf of all the staff and board of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, we want you to know that we are concerned about you, our members, certified operations, and other friends, during this challenging time.
We also want you to know that we remain open for business, albeit with some changes. Most of our staff has been working in remote locations since March 16, and with the Ohio Department of Health’s mandate to Stay At Home going into effect at midnight yesterday, staffing in our office will be further reduced to those involved in the essential functions required to maintain operations.
We will be answering the phone, responding to emails, receiving your 2020 applications for certification, and maintaining other functions. Schedules and timelines may be a bit different than normal, so please be patient with us. We have every intention of continuing to serve you.
Please note that no visitors will be allowed in the office.
For the foreseeable future, all events planned by OEFFA or its chapters have been cancelled or moved online. Please check the OEFFA calendar for details.
This national emergency is having a deep impact on parts of our farming community, and so we are also working to identify what we can do to help. Please look for additional posts from us on resources, virtual meetups to share concerns and information, and requests for your help in advocating for policies that help our farmers, food and farm workers, and consumers.
Our Certification team will continue to verify the integrity of organic products with all available tools to ensure that consumers can trust the integrity of the organic label. We are also working with members of the Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA) and the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) to develop a contingency plan for inspections during a pandemic. We will share information on this plan when it is finalized. Operations with questions about how travel restrictions will affect their certification in the short-term can contact us directly to discuss their situation.
You may continue to call the office and expect the phone to be answered. Direct calls regarding Certification to (614) 262-2022. All other calls should go to (614) 421-2022. Note that if you are calling an individual staff member, you can find their direct line on our staff directory here.
Please stay safe and do your part to keep others safe by practicing all the public health measures that we have been urged to adopt. But about “social distancing?” It’s an unfortunate term. Without doubt, we all need to practice PHYSICAL distancing. But right now we all need social CLOSENESS. We need to keep a part but we also have never needed each other more than now.
Together, we will get through this. Please take care and stay safe.
Carol Goland, Ph.D. OEFFA Executive Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association 41 Croswell Rd. | Columbus, Ohio 43214 (614) 421-2022 | firstname.lastname@example.org