Musings about our farm, organic farming, regional foods and markets.

Plus, what's in the news about foods, systems and regulations around the world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Celebrating Organic

Content From: Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA)
From The Globe & Mail 
Bees on the lavender at Rolling Hills Organics last summer; hardly any bees this summer

What started over a couple drinks one night during the recession has turned into a nationwide celebration with an ever-growing number of participants from all walks of life, says Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA).
Canada’s National Organic Week, held from September 20 to 28, is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. Organized by COTA, Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), the event’s popularity reflects the high regard Canadians have for organic, says Holmes.
“Organic Week started in late 2008,” he recalls. “A colleague from Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and I decided we needed a focus point for the brands and consumers that were behind organic and were driving the growth of the market.”
At the time, there wasn’t much data available, according to Holmes, who knew that the organic market was growing but didn’t have much information on who was buying organic. “Even while people were cutting back and penny-pinching, they were increasingly choosing to buy quality food for their families,” he says.

In the five years since the inception of Organic Week, the organic market has seen substantial growth. Thanks to the increasing demand for organic products, approximately 5,000 certified organic producers and manufacturers are now operating in Canada. Organic food sales reached $3.5-billion in 2012, three times what was sold in 2006, making Canada the world’s fourth largest organic market.
“Organic farming is helping to revive our rural communities,” she says. “It has attracted a whole new diverse generation of farmers in Canada, many of whom didn’t even grow up in rural settings. More and more people are choosing to farm organically because they want to be part of an amazing organic community and they have an unwavering belief in the principles of organic production.”
Another development worthy of celebration is the growing awareness that sustainably grown organic food benefits our environment, families and communities, says St Hilaire. “Canadians have become highly literate consumers, who are very conscious of what they feed themselves and their families.”
CHFA president Helen Long agrees. “Canadians can feel confident that when they purchase a product with the Canada organic logo, they are not only investing in their health, but also supporting sustainable environmentally friendly practices and animal welfare,” she says, adding that with over 1,000 members across Canada dedicated to natural health and organic products, CHFA is proud to once again support Organic Week and shine a spotlight on the important impact the organic industry has for Canadians.