USA— Claiming to reflect regenerative agricultural practices, the first ROC-certified coffee products recently hit store shelves in the United States.

Regenerative agriculture may be broadly defined as agricultural practices that support sustainable environmental outcomes and promote climate resilience, supporting ecosystems as a whole as opposed to simply crop output.

Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) is a revolutionary new certification for food, textiles, and personal care ingredients. ROC certified farms and products claim to meet the highest standards in the world for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker fairness. This year marks the first time the ROC label has been affixed to coffee bags.

Three producer groups in Nicaragua and one in Sierra Leone represent the first wave of ROC-certified coffee growing operations.

Coffees from those groups moved through the ROC-certified Cooperativa Sacaclí in Jinotega, Nicaragua, before making their way to four coffee roasters in the California using the ROC license: Equator Coffees, Heirloom Coffee Roasters, Canyon Coffee and Groundwork Coffee.

 

Ultimately, the goal is to build a highly valued supply chain for regenerative organic products that will support farmers’ stewardship of the land

Elizabeth Whitlow, ROA Executive Director

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ROC certification process

For producers, initial ROC application fees can range from US$350-$1,000 depending on the number of parcels and whether the applicant is a producer group or individual. Annual fees amount to 0.01% of total ROC crop value to farmers, and 0.02% of total ROC product revenue to brands, according to the organization.

“Farms will need to pay the certifiers for the audit costs, but we deliberately work with NOP accredited CBs so that they can offer this as a bundled audit,” said ROA Executive Director Elizabeth Whitlow.

Fee waivers are available to farms that advance the return of historically marginalized farmers to the land, or that have established educational internship programs teaching regenerative organic practices.

Currently ROC certification is held by 86 farms, while 35 brands hold licenses for ROC-certified goods. Whitlow said the certification has reached more than 90 countries.

“Ultimately, the goal is to build a highly valued supply chain for regenerative organic products that will support farmers’ stewardship of the land,” said Whitlow. “ROC and the Regenerative Organic Alliance aim to provide a clear pathway for brands and shoppers to support this type of farming with our comprehensive umbrella seal.”

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