2021 In Review

Looking back over 2021, at OCO, we have had a very productive year thanks to our network of creative and hardworking organic operators and producers across Ontario. In 2021, OCO continued to be a strong voice for organics, advocating for better oversight of organics and greater support for the sector. We are proud of the following achievements:


  • We continue to defend the interests of Ontario’s organic sector and prioritize an Ontario Organic Regulation by working directly with MPP McDonnell on passing Bill 54. We met with the new Minister of Agriculture, Lisa Thompson, to bring attention to the urgency of these issues and provided her with three updated letters of endorsement from the OFA, CFFO, and NFU-O and conducted a survey of members to demonstrate support.
  • We developed two letters on behalf of the Ontario organic sector to direct organic and climate priorities in Federal-Provincial-Territorial meetings leading up to the upcoming Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). These priorities have already been integrated into the Guelph Organic Statement.
  • We participated in consultation sessions for the proposed Grocer’s Code of Practise
  • We joined the Policy and Communication committees of Farmers for Climate Solutions recommitting our efforts to this important coalition.
  • We continued our work towards stable funding for the organization. While in past years, our vision was for a regulated check-off for the sector, OCO has pivoted to developing commodity board partnerships and an association membership scheme with some.
  • As part of our work to strengthen relations with commodity groups, we held consultations with organic grape growers, grain producers, and greenhouse producers in 2021. 
  • We continue to play a role in shaping national efforts for change including the State of Organic Report to be published in 2022 and important campaigns such as one for GE transparency.

Data and Research

  • We published four Cost of Production Calculators and  Resources for Organic Field Crops, Dairy, Pastured Poultry. and Salad Greens. The resources build a strong economic case for organic businesses and those wishing to transition.
  •  We further developed the Organic Data Portal, expanding this resource to include data on acreage, yield, number of organic operators, labour, and more differentiated organic products. This resource will only grow in 2022.
  • We published the first Ontario Market Report since 2013 in partnership with the Canada Organic Trade Association. The report analyzes data aggregated from Nielsen  and Leger 360 and provides useful insights into the organic industry in Ontario.
  • We continued our work towards stable funding for the organization. While in past years, our vision was for a regulated check-off for the sector, OCO has pivoted to focus on individual commodity board partnerships and an association membership scheme with some initial success this year.
  • OCO has taken an active role this year in setting the priorities for the next Organic Science Cluster.
  • OCO partnered with Community Researchers to evaluate the lasting impacts of the COVID pandemic on local food businesses in Ontario. Survey results will be published in 2022.


  • Hosted several farmer and value chain oriented educational webinars as part of the Guelph Organic Conference and regularly scheduled OCO activities.
  • OCO has recommitted to offering farmer and business training through a Prairie Organic Development Fund partnership called the Canadian Organic Ingredients Strategy. Through this partnership, OCO is hosting ten workshops on organic best management practices, financial tools, and production, some of which were held at the EFAO conference. Workshops will be taking place into 2022 at the Guelph Organic Conference and Eco Farm Day.

Resources and Communication

  • In 2021, OCO published a feasibility study on regenerative certification and incentives programs and examined their suitability for Ontario. The study demonstrated an increased consumer demand for foods and products that help solve climate change. 
  • OCO received funding from the Climate Action and Awareness Fund to create an Organic Climate Solutions campaign that highlights the environmental and economic benefits of organic and regenerative farming. We generated a large library of articles, blogs, videos and webinars to engage farmers in organic climate solutions. 
  • OCO continues to partner with agricultural media to provide content on a wide range of organic topics. Articles featured in Fruit and Vegetable, Greenhouse Canada, and Better Farming magazine.

Despite the pandemic, OCO continues to work hard for a thriving Ontario Organic Sector. Thank you for your continued support! 

If you aren’t already a supporting member, please join the movement. If you refer a new member before January 31, 2022, you can also win a free Ontario Market Report!

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