MPPs Join OCO at Queen’s Park for Local Food Week

The Organic Council of Ontario is excited to attend this year’s Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market again in Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.53.52 AMcelebration of Local Food Week.  This year, in an effort to promote Ontario Organics, we have invited all MPPs to join us at the event and come meet our board members and taste the delicious samples provided by chef Tania Ganassini of Southbrook Vineyards, featuring Beretta beef and Pfenning’s organic vegetables.  You can read the invitation online or by clicking on this image.

The letter includes important facts about the Ontario organic sector including the following:

  • Ontario’s Organic food sales are over $1 billion annually, roughly 30% of all Canadian sales;
  • Ontario’s Organic sales are increasing 10-20% every year;
  • Organic agriculture makes up only approx. 2% of agricultural acreage in Ontario;
  • Organic agriculture attracts more new entrants compared with conventional agriculture; and,
  • Organic agriculture has the potential to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and mitigate climate.

And yet,

  • Organic claims are still unregulated and unenforced for within-province organic sales in Ontario;
  • There are five other provinces that regulate organic claims and in some cases, offer subsidies for certification and transition (Quebec, NB, NS, Manitoba and B.C.);
  • There are no staff, funding or research programs within OMAFRA that are dedicated to organic agriculture;
  • There are no federal funds dedicated to maintaining the organic standard (industry must instead pay $20,000 to amend regulations);
  • Organic producers pay into marketing boards and associations but have no sector funding dedicated to marketing organic produce; and
  • Quebec recently announced a $9 million organic growth strategy that supports organic producers and those transitioning to organic through increased extension, research, promotion and risk management.

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