Join us in Vernon at the Prestige Hotel for our next annual conference focusing on Resilience! Sessions on water harvesting and resilient/restorative agriculture are pertinent given extreme temperatures and water shortages in BC this season. There will also be sessions on the certification process, seed saving (beginner and advanced presentations), pest management, stories from trailblazers in the organic community, and so much more.
We're thrilled to have Dr. Vandana Shiva, internationally recognized advocate for organics and non-GMO seed sovereignty, as our Keynote Speaker: Saturday at 8:30 AM.
Click here for Full Conference 2016 Information
Seeds of Knowledge
What’s in a seed? For farmers, seeds are pure magic, a symbol of life, and full of possibility. From the seeds they lovingly plant in the earth each season, to the seeds of knowledge handed down from generation to generation, farmers share a bit of this magic.
A big part of what we do as organic producers is make sure that we have what we need to move forward building a better food system: the seeds that give life, and the seeds of knowledge that are giving life to a new generation of farmers. Learn more here...
What is organic? To the farmers growing food and getting their hands dirty every day, organic is everything. A way of life, a way forward to a better food system, and, of course, a way to grow healthy, delicious food that is good for people and the planet.
This is our Manifesto.
We hope you enjoy this peek into the truly unique, often challenging, and always rewarding life of an organic farmer - and that you're inspired to learn more about the soil-nurturing, life-affirming philosophy and practices at the heart of the organic movement. Learn more here...
A Step Forward for Certified Organic
BC Ministry of Agriculture Commits to Clearing Up Organic Confusion
Vernon, BC (September 21, 2015) – Big news for organic farmers, processors, and consumers alike this
week as BC’s provincial government solidifies their commitment to regulating the term organic with an
intentions paper outlining the regulation and its scope.
This is an important step forward for the organic sector. COABC supports the introduction of mandatory organic certification, and would like to extend great thanks to BC’s Ministry of Agriculture for recognizing the importance and value of this action. COABC is working with the ministry to support this move, and look forward to future developments that help the growth of the organic sector.
Full PDF News Release
On the Road with Organic Week
Join us for our first annual Organic Roadshow, an event series that celebrates organic food and farming across British Columbia!
When: Organic Week, September 19 to 27.
What: Learn from experts in organic! Each event features a workshop or presentation celebrating reasons to go organic, from the business of organic to land stewardship.
What else: We're especially looking forward to Certification 101 workshops, which promise to be highly relevant and popular for farmers and consumers alike, given the upcoming provincial regulation of the word organic.
But wait, there's more: Select events will also reveal an exciting first look at a series of videos on organic farming in BC.
Speaker Rochelle Eisen, calls the Organic Roadshow "the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that is organic – and strengthen community." We hope to see you at one of these Organic Roadshow events:
- Sept 19 – Vancouver: Certification 101 with Rochelle Eisen & Gunta Vitins @ UBC Farm, 1-4 pm (Open House); 1:45-3:15 pm (Organic Week Presentations)
- Sept 20 – Saanich: Certification 101 with Rochelle Eisen & Gunta Vitins @ Haliburton Community Organic Farm, Saanich Start 2:00pm
- Sept 24 – Richmond: Connecting with your Consumers using Social Media with Chris Bodnar @ Kwantlen, 4-6 pm
- Sept 24 – Comox Valley: Economics of Organic with Candice Appleby & Greg McLaren @ 4 pm, Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Boardroom, Cumberland
- Sept 27 – Kelowna: Okanagan Organic Festival, Farmer to Fork Panel with Lisa MacIntosh, Jordan Marr, Jaye Coward and Mirielle Gourlay, Thomas Tumbach @ Summerhill Pyramid Winery, 3 pm
Other events with Candice Appleby:
Sunday Sept 20, 2015
Dunster – 6pm-8pm @ the Dunster Hall
Monday Sept 21, 2015
Prince George – 10:30am-12:30pm @ Community Futures, 1566 7th Ave
Vanderhoof – 6pm-8pm @ Community Futures, 2750 Burrard Ave.
Tuesday Sept 22, 2015
Fort St. James – 10am-12pm @ the District of Fort St. James Office, 477 Stuart Dr.
Smithers – 6pm-8pm @ the Hudson Bay Lodge, 3251 Hwy 16 E
Wednesday Sept 23, 2015
Terrace – 6pm-8pm @ the Best Western, 4553 Greig Ave
Other events with Rochelle Eisen:
Sunday Sept 27, 2015
Winlaw – 1pm-3pm @ Vallican Whole Community Centre, 3762 Little Slocan Rd S
More events are currently being confirmed watch the COABC facebook page and website for updates.
Organic Week, September 19-27, is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming, and products across the country. Hundreds of individual events will showcase the beneﬁts of organic agriculture and its positive impact on health and the environment.
Now Online: Prepare Organic Food Toolkit
Every farmer needs a good set of tools. With the official launch on June 24, 2015 of the Prepare Organic Food online toolkit, BC farmers now have the information tools they need to develop successful organic businesses. The third in our Organic Food toolkit series, Prepare Organic Food joins Grow Organic Food and Market Organic Food as indispensable items in every organic farmers virtual toolbelt.
Check out Prepare Organic Food to find out more about everything from post-harvest handling procedures, to managing supply chain challenges, to organic certification standards. Find it here.
Celebrate Organics this September 19-27!
Join in this September, when people from around BC and all across the country get together to celebrate National Organic Week. It's a week filled with festivities, fun, and wonderful organic food -- all to raise awareness of certified organic farming and food production and it's many benefits for our environment and our health.
From farm tours to food tastings, from potlucks to ploughing workshops, there's something for everyone during National Organic Week! To find an event in your community, or to register your event, visit organicweek.ca.
Hey, BC producers -- did you know there are downloadable and customizable Organic Week materials to help you promote your certified organic products at farmer markets and retail outlets? Check out the posters and graphics available at organicweek.ca.
COABC is a regional partner in National Organic Week, which is organized by Canadian Organic Growers and the Canadian Organic Trade Association.
News Release - Plans underway to grow B.C. organic sector
VICTORIA – The Ministry of Agriculture is consulting with the organic sector about developing a three pillar approach to strengthen the awareness and reputation of B.C.'s organic foods, locally, across Canada, and around the world.
The consultations involve regulating the use of the term "organic", developing transitional strategies that support farmers to become certified, creating business strategy and market development programs, and creating a brand to market B.C. organic foods.
The proposed change will require all products marketed as "organic" in B.C. to be certified under either a provincial or national certification program. Operators producing and selling their organic products strictly within B.C. will require provincial certification. B.C. companies with customers in other provinces or countries will require certification by a federally accredited certification body, just as they do today.Full PDF News Release
Making the Switch to Organic
With three new business guides for conventional producers, the OVCRT aims to convince more farmers and processors to get the "Organic Advantage."
Canada's organic sector needs to significantly increase its production capacity to keep up with the ever-growing consumer demand for organic products. To help spur growth in the sector, the Organic Value Chain Roundtable (OVCRT) has recently released three new guides targeted to conventional growers that provide a strong business case for going organic. Each commodity-specific guide provides beef, grain and vegetable producers with an overview of the economics, market opportunities, and government/industry resources available to help guide new entrants towards a successful transition.
- Organic Business Case Beef OVCRT
- Organic Business Case Grains OVCRT
- Organic Business Case Vegetables OVCRT
Video Takes the Mystery Out of Organic Inspections
Most certified organic farmers would agree, the first visit from an organic inspector can be unnerving. What will they ask? What will they look at?
Thanks to a new video produced by the COABC with funding from Vancity, the inspection process just got a lot less stressful for new organic farmers. "What to Expect From an Inspection..." is a six-minute video following verification officer Dwight Brown as he tours Stepney Hills Farms in Armstrong BC, explaining exactly what an organic inspector looks for, and what farmers can do to prepare for their inspection.
Whether you're a new certified organic entrant, considering becoming certified, or simply want to learn more about the inspection process for certified organic farms, check it out. You'll learn how the inspection puts together a complete picture of an organic farm, ensuring that BC's certified organic farms are healthy, sustainable and productive.
Stay tuned for further videos exploring the organic certification process.
Crowdfunding and the Organic SectorThe Organic Value Chain Roundtable (OVCRT) has released its report about the potential for crowdfunding in the organic sector. Crowdfunding is the latest tool for raising funds online. It is being successfully used to generate substantial funds for a wide variety of projects. Read the "Organic Sector Crowdfunding Report 2014" and discover the possibilities for your next project.
Organic Producers Not in Support of Bill 24
April 10, 2014 - The Certified Organic Association of BC (COABC) is the voice for the organic Agriculture Sector in the province, with a membership of 650 operations across BC. COABC feels there was not adequate consultation with farmers before the introduction of Bill 24 and does not support the loss of agricultural land from the ALR, particularly in the North and Kootenays.
"The highest percentage of acreage in organic production is in the North. If we lose any of our grain producing land in Northern BC it will impact our ability as a province to have agriculture as a high income producer." states Susan Snow, Co-Chair of COABC.
The COABC agrees with the latest statement from the BC Food Systems Network that BC must protect its Northern agricultural land for the food security of the entire province. According to BC Ministry of Agriculture statistics, the province of British Columbia is not even producing 50% of its current food requirements. Areas in the North and in the Kootenays are the only acreages left that can be brought into more intensive production to meet the rising demand for local food.
"We believe that consumers want the cleanest, healthiest food that farmers can grow," Snow proclaims. "Any type of non-farm activity around agriculture increases the possibility of pollution of water, land and air."
In addition, COABC would like to see small parcels of agricultural land embraced and not marginalized. It is not fair that smaller plots of agriculture land need a higher income per acre than larger operations to receive the tax breaks. Many of our members are making their living farming small plots. We can't afford to be giving away productive or marginally productive land. Once it's given away, we are not going to get it back.
2014 Western Canadian Organic Business Directory - Now Available!
A partnership between Organic Alberta, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD), Manitoba Organic Alliance (MOA) & Certified Organic Association of British Columbia (COABC), the directory lists all companies that provide services or processed products to businesses in the organic sector. From the producer to the retailer, the directory connects the Western Canadian organic sector.
This directory is being distributed by the provincial associations such as COABC. It is available for free online for download . To purchase your hard copy for only $6.00 Purchase Here
Canada’s Organic Inputs Directory Launches New Website!
BC Leads in the Organic Marketplace
Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion. The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, far outpacing the growth rate of other agri-food sectors. A diverse consumer base is driving the sector, with 58% of all Canadians buying organic products every week.
In BC, two-thirds of consumers—and over three-quarters of Vancouverites—are buying organic groceries weekly. BC generated 23% of the value of the national organic food and beverage market with strong sales across distribution channels.
Read the entire study conducted by the Canada Organic Trade Association here.
Small Scale Certification Research Project
The Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) undertook research to better understand the needs and issues of non-certified organic producers which deter them from participating in organic certification programs, and investigate possible solutions. The COABC Small-Scale Certification Research Project (SSCRP) process began with the development of a communications strategy and the creation of an SSCRP Advisory Committee. Once this was completed, the kick off for the project involved the identification of key stakeholders within and outside of COABC to approach for consultation. The intent was to engage with stakeholders throughout the project that have left certification, those that are not certified, but claiming to be organic, and urban agriculturalists.
Read the findings in the project report here.