Co-farmer Movement Workshop at the 2013 Guelph Organic Conference

This workshop took place at the 32nd Annual Guelph Organic Conference. Over 70 people attended the workshop. A summary of the workshop outcomes will be provided soon.

Target audience: engaged consumers, organic activists, organic producers/ retailers, local community developers and those who want to re-ignite our organic movement

Description: As organic has become more successful in the business world, the sense of unity and being a “movement” amongst our consumers has waned, and the idea that “professionalization” of our movement has contributed to our loss of a sense of ownership as eaters over the movement. Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus at University of Missouri, spoke in 2012 to the OCO membership- the organic business and farm leaders in Ontario- about the need to include the consumer in the value chain if we are to have a truly sustaining food system.

The Organic Council of Ontario represents the full value chain from producer to eater. In 2012 OCO launched the “Co-Farmer Campaign”, an attempt to build consumer membership within our organization. With 5,000 dedicated organic eaters joining OCO each year, OCO would achieve our core funding goals and address the advocacy needs of the sector- in sharp contrast to our boom-bust cycles of primarily project funding. Connecting with those 5,000 potential members is the current challenge facing our organization.

Our panel included Canadian superstar nutritionist and public speaker Julie Daniluk, a regular on the Marilyn Denis Show who also appears on Oprah and Dr. Oz, John Devlin of the University of Guelph and Jodi Koberinski of the Organic Council of Ontario. Julie’s experience as a motivational speaker and a nutritionist deeply engaged in promoting organics to the public offers the group insights into what motivates consumers to act beyond their grocery basket and become more active in supporting the work being done.

John Devlin, School of Environmental Design &
Rural Development, University of Guelph


Julie Daniluk, Author, Nutritionist & TV Host

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