Canadian Organization Seeks to Foster More Organic Farming


Eating local is often associated with a desire for produce that is organic, meaning it is grown on a sustainable scale without the use of non-chemical fertilizers. In many ways this is a direct reaction to the perceived negative effects of the large-scale, industrialized agriculture that has become the norm for North America’s food industry. Consumers have learned to look for products that are certified organic, but for farmers looking to join this rapidly-growing market, there have been many obstacles to successfully achieving certification.

The Canadian Organic Growers recently conducted a two-year study called  “Transitioning to Organic: A Risk-Based Analysis.” Their study showed that Canadians want organic products and that concern about agriculture’s impact on the land and environment is driving this demand. Yet the increasing demand is not being matched by domestic supply, and Canadian farmers are struggling to benefit from the market opportunities of transitioning to organic production.

So what’s holding them back? According to the study, there are several factors, including the bureaucratic need for new record keeping, lack of experience with organic techniques for weed management and increasing yields, and an inability to tap into the supply chain for the new markets.

Of particular interest for Canada’s North, the report recommends that small-scale farmers join together to tackle processing infrastructure and joint marketing efforts. Such market development efforts could exploit greater local organic production in areas with lower population density. Supply-chain development could also be advanced by developing infrastructure needed for processing of organic food, including small abattoirs, feed mills, or organic fruit processing facilities.

> Read the full COG report here

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