OCO Activities 2011

2011 was an extremely busy year for the council. We traveled across the province on the Ontario Organics Roadshow, kicked off several research projects, helped launch the Foodland Ontario Organic logo, started the Marketing Ontario Organics Working Group, participated in several conferences, attended many meetings, launched our social media outreach, developed several key videos about organic, engaged an organizational sustainability study, and much more!



Presentation at Queens Park on organic sector priorities for Pre-budget Hearings

Meeting with Hans Feldmann, Minister’s policy aide

Meeting with Mike Schreiner, Leader of Green Party of Ontario

1st Annual Ontario Organic Awards

Guelph Organic Conference

Hosted Trade Symposium

Local and Organic Workshop featuring Denise Zaborowski of Foodland Ontario

Traders Breakfast

Canada Organic Office conference call

Canadian Organic Extension Network (COEN) and Ontario Organic Extension Network (OOEN) meetings

Meeting with Soy2020

Meeting with Local Food Plus



Agriculture Standing Committee Consultations (Ottawa)

Knowledge Transfer and Translation Conference (Guelph)

Establishment of the Marketing Ontario Organics Working Group

EcoFarm Day (Cornwall)

COG Toronto Conference

EnviroPig Panel Discussion at University of Guelph featuring Lucy Sharratt of CBAN

Data Collection discussions with SPINS

Canadian Organic Extension Network Meeting

Meeting with Egg Farmers of Ontario with presentation from CFIA

Meeting with Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Meeting with Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council

Meeting with Foodland re: Foodland Organic

Meeting with OFVGA

Media Coverage of GE Forum w/OCO interview: “Crop Threats Raised at U of G Forum” Guelph Mercury, Feb 7 ‘11

Media Coverage of GE Forum w/OCO interview: “Modified crops pose threat, forum hears” Front Page, Guelph Mercury, Feb 8, 2011

Media Coverage of Foodland Organic w/OCO interview and photo: “Organic Foodland Ontario Label Offers New Opportunity” Ontario Farmer, Feb 8 , 2011

Media Coverage of OCO Awards: “Industry Pioneers Honoured for Lifetime achievement” Ont Farmer, Feb 22 ‘11

Media Coverage of GE issue w/Full OCO interview: “Organic Growers seek Protection from GE contamination” Ontario Farmer, Feb 22, 2011  “… we’d like to see that there’s some policy in place that the polluter pays.” – Jodi Koberinski, OCO



Meeting with Deputy Minister Burke to discuss priorities, policy, competing claims and the value of organics.

Meeting with Gord Surgeoner

GE Panel with Guelph MP Frank Valeriote, Italian Canadian Club, Guelph, March 10th

Media Coverage of GE Conversation w/OCO interview: “MP Makes Progress Encouraging Organic-Biotech Dialogue” Ontario Farmer, March 8, 2011


Initiate Data Collection project with Farmers Markets Ontario

Processor Survey Initiated

South-Western Ontario Farmer/ Buyer Networking event in London.

Participation in Bring Food Home Conference Programming Committee

Organic Meadow Symposium – outreach

Beechwood Ag Services Farmers Meeting presentation on value of OCO

COABC Conference to discuss sustainability of the Canada Organic Regime

OVCRT meetings in Winnipeg- Ted Zettel

Participation in Standards Interpretation Committee and Technical Review Committee

Approved for New Directions Grant “Information Systems Development for the Organic Sector” – Theresa Schumilas research lead

Approved for OMIF “Ontario Organic Roadshow”

Front Page article in Guelph Mercury

Action taken after request from member re: allegations of organics fraud

Food and Farming Strategies Workshop

Media Coverage of OCO GE Forum: “Anti-GMO Group petitions to bar U of G’s Enviropig” On Farmer, Mar 22 ‘11

OOEN Meeting

Meeting with Alliance of Ontario Food Processors @Conestoga College



Attended Premier’s Summit (Permanent Business Risk Management program announcement was the policy highlight of the event. Presentations from Marsan Foods, the Greenbelt Foundation, Metcalfe, an ethnic food processor and a functional food developer/ marketer underscored OMAFRA’s current focus on building processing infrastructure.)

Green Living Show (Toronto)

Attended Environmental Sustainability Research Forum

ON Trace Forum

Guelph Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

Sustain Ontario Advisory Meeting (Holland Marsh)

Meeting with COTA

COEN Meeting

Hired Part-time book keeper and Part-time Events Coordinator



Foodland Ontario Organic released

Queens Park Market Event (Toronto)

Media Coverage of Member business growth w/ OCO quote: “Over the top organics” Farmers Forum, May, 2011  “… we’d like to see that there’s some policy in place that the polluter pays.” – Jodi Koberinski, OCO ED.



Marketing Ontario Organics Working Group Day-long Strategy Session

Canadian Nutrition, Society for Healthy Eating (June 2, U of G)

First Roadshow event at Ignatius Farm

Meeting with Roxanna Roshan – Skills Development and Training Needs project

Farmstart AGM

Discussions of funding for SIC

Participation in Aquaculture Standards Discussions

Continued discussions with EFO, Farm On, Farm Start re: Partnership Grant and OOEN

Powerline Video shoot begins

OCO office moves




Meeting with Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell to discuss our sector’s issues ahead of the July Meetings of the Federal/Provincial Ministers in PEI.

Website Strategy Session with Hypenotic

London Home County Folk Festival (London)

Hillside Music Festival (Guelph)

Letter to the On Farmer editor re: E. Coli outbreak connection to Organics (July 12, 2011, On Farmer)



Conscious Food Festival (Toronto)

Harvest Picnic (Dundas)

Development of Traceability Fund Initiative Grant

Meeting with Foodland Ontario Staff

Greenbelt Foundation Round-Table Discussion (Toronto)

Outreach to members for Roadshow opportunities

Meeting with Bryan Gilvesy re: organic messaging strategy and foundation possibilities

Soft Launch of our 3 ‘Why Organic’ Whiteboard Videos



REACH! Huron County

Feast of Fields Ottawa

Feast of Fields King City

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (Woodstock)

Taste! Prince Edward County (Picton)

Savour Stratford

Niagara Food Fest (Welland)

COG PWW’s Organic Vegetable Market Price Tracker (sponsored in part by OCO) Launched

Meetings with Members re Roadshow Opportunities

Foodland Ontario Marketing Meeting

CAP Meeting

Media Coverage of Hugh Martin’s retirement: “How Curiosity Shapes Career Direction” Ontario Farmer, September 27, 2011



Launch of New OCO Website (thanks Hypenotic!)

Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) Show (Toronto)

Workshop on Foodland Organic for retailers and processors

Organic Week

Organics on the Hill, lobbying event with COTA and COG in Ottawa

Retail Display Contest

Stop the Quarry with COTA (Roadshow Stop)

Healthy Foods and More (Roadshow Stop)

Organic Garage (Roadshow Stop)

Whiteboard Videos shown at Norfolk County Fair, (Simcoe)

Meeting with TFO

Meeting with Dr. Ralph Martin


Foodland Ontario Marketing Meeting

Meeting with Ontario Independent Poultry Producers

OCO participated on the OVCRT Marketing Working Group to develop the Phase II activities for promoting the Canada Organic brand, including consulting on a survey for operators.

Participate in OFC, SIC and Technical Review Committee activities:  Ted Zettel participated in OFC meetings. Addressed regulatory issues arising from critical variances with the US Organic program.

Low-level Presence Conversation (Toronto)

Made submissions regarding Growing Forward II priorities

Bring Food Home Conference. Including 2 workshops (One on Environmental Goods and Services with Bryan Gilvesy from ALUS, and Pat Learmonth on behalf of conservation partners in the Kawarthas. The 2nd was organized by EFO, FarmStart and OCO, as a follow up meeting amongst Ont. extension providers.)

Attended Sustain Ontario’s AGM

Media Coverage of Organic Sector w/OCO interview: “2011: A Tough Year for Organic Farmers ” Better Farming Magazine, October 2011  .



Meeting with Conservative MP Ben Lobb (Huron Bruce) re: Financial support for standards upkeep; low-level presence; and financial support for transitioning to organic.

Media Coverage of ‘Natural’ Claim Issue w/OCO interview: “Ottawa Opens Debate on Proposed ‘Natural’ Labeling ” Ontario Farmer, November 1, 2011

Royal Winter Fair (Toronto)

OCO Consumer Booth at RBC (Guelph)

Communicated to OMAFRA the importance of an Organic specific position within OMAFRA

Provided Organic 101 Training to staff at major retail outlet

Nominated representatives for Standards Interpretation Committee

‘Certified’ Label issue discussion with COTA, COO. Position statement issued.

OCO Hart House Fundraiser (Toronto)

Participated in Low Level Presence Consultations (Toronto)

Meeting with Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Media Coverage of BFHC: “Disconnect still exists between farmers and food system” Ontario Farmer, November 8, 2011

Media Coverage of BFHC’s Keynote speaker, Raj Patel. Ontario Farmer, November 15, 2011



Media Coverage of COG’s Price Tracker: “Tool Helps Peg Organic Produce Prices” Ont Farmer, Dec 13, 2011

Sector-Wide efforts to shift story on Organic Apples being found with small amounts of fungicides, including interviews with CTV. Worked with COTA, COG, and OFC to develop counter-story. Succeeded in shifting story to be about how we live in a polluted world and the best solution to minimize toxins is organic.

OCO Press Release: Organic Food Best way to Avoid Pesticides

Media Coverage of Organic Apple/Pesticides Story w/OCO quotes in Better Farming Magazine, Dec. 2011

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