Canada’s Organic Community

Welcome to Canada’s Organic Community! Organics is a community by virtue of its commitment to doing things differently: organic farmers producing quality food by caring for the health of the soil and water; unique distribution methods that bypass big business and leave more cash in the hands of our farmers; and education of the food-buying public so they know that their food does not just come from a grocery store shelf.However, the community’s small size (one to two percent of the Canadian market) makes it difficult for people interested in organics to find each other across the country. I created Canada’s Organic Community to help bring together everyone with an interest in organics.

If you’re not quite sure what organic agriculture is, or what it’s all about, see What is Organic Agriculture? Looking for some good news about organics? Read the motion developed by the city of Minneapolis MN, specifically supporting organic foods.

 

From here you can search Food in Canada’s Organic Community, which contains pages with information on 1913 organic farmers, plus CSAs and Green/Brown Box Programmes, and Farmers’ Markets across Canada. Please help: Missing are many certified organic farmers from BCARA and COPA in BC; all Pro-Cert, most COCC and some OCIA farmers in Saskatchewan; most OPAM farmers in Manitoba; many certified organic farmers in Ontario; and all the certified organic farmers in Qu├ębec except for OCIA farmers. If you can help make this list of organic farmers more accurate or complete, email Inforganics with the information.

You can also search Commerce in Canada’s Organic Community, where you’ll find listings of businesses committed to bringing organic food and fibre, and expertise about organics, to Canadians. The businesses that list here support your access to the listings in the Food section. Please vote with your dollars for sustainable and regenerative agricultural products and services. New businesses to Canada’s Organic Community include Nature’s Alternative International Inc. of Nanoose Bay in the Inputs category.

I’ve had a few complaints recently about including in Canada’s Organic Community organic farmers who are not certified. I have included farmers who have chosen not to certify their crops for two reasons:
I created this site to inform people about the range and breadth of organics in Canada. It is relatively easy to find certified organic farmers by contacting the various certifying bodies in Canada. The balance of the farmers, those who aren’t certified, aren’t as easy to find.
Organic certification was first created to take the place of the trust that developed between a farmer and the people just down the road or in the nearby town who bought the farmer’s products. As the distance (not just physical) between producer and buyer increased, and the farmer’s operation became more “industrialized,” there was less interaction between the two. Organic farmers decided many years ago to give their customers proof of what they were saying about how they grew their crops. Certification helped expand the market for organic foods, and helps expand the market for Canadian products (particularly grains and beef) in the U.S. and overseas. However, many organic farmers today grow crops for small, local groups of people. These people know the farmer, visit her farm, and in some cases help her market her crops (for example, in community shared agriculture projects). In such cases, the trust takes the place of certification, bringing the farmer/buyer relationship back full circle to what it was 40 or more years ago.
I cannot vouch for every farmer listed here. The majority of the farmers here are certified organic, and more are certifying every year, largely as a response to market opportunities (Saskatchewan has more than doubled its acreage of organic crops in the 1999 and 2000 seasons). Since the launch of this site in 1998, I have asked the visitors here to help me make the farmer (and CSA and farmers’ market) listings more accurate and complete.

If you know of any farmer listed here who is not using 100% organic methods, please let me know. I will investigate the allegation, and if there is proof that the farmer is not using conventional agricultural processes, I will remove that farmer from Canada’s Organic Community. Contact me by email with your information.

I believe you’ll find Canada’s Organic Community a useful and valuable site. Please tell your friends about it so they will also have access to organic food and information. And don’t forget to add it to your favourites in your web browser.

Acknowledgements

Canada’s Organic Community would not have been possible without the financial and emotional support of Julie Johnston and Peter Carter. David Cameron and Nancy Sherwood have also supported me through the creation and maintenance of this site.
Dedication

I dedicate this site to the children of Canada, including my niece, Savannah Johnston. May you grow up in a sustainable and nourishing world! I also dedicate this site to the people of Canada who take the biggest risks in our society: our farmers.