Februray 10th, 2016

As the recipient of the Peavey Mart Community Agricultural Grant, Organic Alberta is pleased to announce that it will be launching the Young Agrarians program in Alberta. 

Built on a successful grassroots community building model, Young Agrarians was founded in British Columbia with the mission of growing the next generation of ecological farmers.

"It's about building a supportive, mutual learning community for new farmers," says Dana Penrice, the Young Agrarians Alberta Coordinator. "People need to feel they aren't alone in starting up a farm, there's a whole community of people around them that they can lean on."

With $50,000 from the Peavey Mart Community Agricultural Grant, Young Agrarians will be working with farmers to organize farm tours, potlucks, mixers, and workshops across Alberta over the next two years. Events will create space for knowledge, skills, tools, techniques, challenges and opportunities to be shared.

"The Young Agrarians program provides a sense of community to young farmers to help them be successful," said Peavey Industries president Doug Anderson. "That kind of coordinated effort is a force to be reckoned with, and we're delighted to help the next generation of farmers to succeed."

Video: The 2015 Peavey Mart Community AG Grant Winner: Organic Alberta/Young Agrarians

Join us at an upcoming event:

  • February 25th - Olds, AB - Young Agrarian Mixer at the Organic Alberta and Alberta Farm Fresh Annual Conference
  • March 8th - Pigeon Lake, AB - Young Agrarians Potluck held as part of the National Farmer's Union Youth Retreat
  • May 21st & 22nd - Castor, AB - Young Agrarians Farm Tour and Workshop at Red Tail Farms 

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Dana Penrice, Alberta Young Agrarians Coordinator
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Press Release: The Organic Sector Urges the Commission to Classify New Genetic Engineering Techniques as GMOs

Brussels, 14 January 2016 – IFOAM EU has published a position paper on new genetic engineering techniques, ahead of the legal interpretation of the European Commission, expected by March 2016. The European organic food and farming sector considers that there are no legal or technical reasons to bypass the GMO legislation and to exempt these new breeding techniques from risk assessment and other legal requirements that apply to GMOs, and warns of severe economic consequences if some of these techniques are deregulated by the European Commission.

"New techniques bearing the same potential risks as the GMOs currently on the market should not be used in organic farming nor released into the environment, even less be exempted from risk assessment and traceability", warns Christopher Stopes, IFOAM EU President.

"Any attempt to exempt these new genetic engineering techniques from risk assessment, traceability and labelling would create havoc on the food, feed and seeds markets, and would backfire like the attempt to introduce GMOs in Europe backfired 20 years ago", adds Thomas Fertl, IFOAM EU Vice-President.

"The Commission could let consumers and the market decide, but the right to choose can only exist if there is a traceability and labelling system in place, like for currently labelled GMOs. Without traceability, it would be impossible to know if and where such products would be in the environment and in the food chain", he adds.

"We need innovation in the plant breeding sector and new agronomic approaches that make the most of the diversity of plant genetic resources, but innovation does not have to resort to genetic engineering techniques that can lead to unpredictable side effects, and whose benefits will mainly go the companies that will market them", adds Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Policy Manager.

The so-called “new plant breeding techniques” addressed in the position paper, such as cisgenesis or CRISPR/Cas, interfere at the sub-cellular and genomic level. Therefore, IFOAM EU considers that they would not be compatible with the principles of organic farming and that they should not be used in organic farming.

Deregulation of new breeding techniques would threaten the freedom of choice of breeders, farmers and consumers. If some of these new techniques are excluded from the scope of the legislation on GMOs, the organic sector would face a situation where genetic modification techniques excluded from organic farming could be released into the environment and the food chain while being exempt from any traceability and labelling requirements.

Read the new IFOAM EU position paper

For more information please contact:

Eric Gall, Policy Manager
+32 (0) 2 280 68 43 / +32 491 07 25 37, eric.gall[at]ifoam-eu.org

Laura Ullmann, Communications Manager
+32 (0)2 808 7991 / +32 (0) 486 88 52 12, laura.ullmann[at]ifoam-eu.org

IFOAM EU represents more than 160 member organizations in the EU-28, the EU accession countries and EFTA. Member organizations span the entire organic food chain and beyond: from farmers and processors organisations, retailers, certifiers, consultants, traders and researchers to environmental and consumer advocacy bodies

Global Trends & Forecasts to 2020
from Research and Markets, Guinness Centre, Taylors Lane, Dublin 8, Ireland

Organic fruits and vegetables are primarily produced by using minimal off-farm inputs and using the production methods that restore and improve ecological balance. The organic fruits & vegetables market is one of the fastest-growing markets in the overall organic agriculture industry, owing primarily to its multiple health benefits and absence of synthetic chemicals. Certain medicinal benefits associated with organic fruits and vegetables include anti-inflammatory properties, enhanced immunity, and anti-oxidant properties.

The organic fruits & vegetables market is segmented on the basis of crop, form, end use, distribution channel, and region. Based on crop, it is categorized as organic fruits and organic vegetables. Organic vegetables are further segmented into leafy greens and vegetables. The types of organic fruits and vegetables are further categorized into their subtypes. On the basis of form, the market is segmented into fresh, powdered, frozen, and puree. Based on end use, the market is segmented as fresh consumption and food processing. The distribution channels for organic fruits and vegetables include supermarkets/hypermarkets, variety stores, and convenience stores. The market is also segmented by regions into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Rest of the World (RoW).

Both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' approaches were used to arrive at the market sizes and obtain the market forecast. Extensive secondary research was conducted to understand the market insights and trends, which was further validated through primary interviews.

The organic fruits & vegetables market is projected to reach about $62.97 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of about 9.4%, as a result of the rising awareness of the health benefits of organic fruits and vegetables among the consumers in developed regions such as Europe and North America.

The report provides both, qualitative and quantitative analyses of the market for organic fruits and vegetables. It includes the market dynamics, opportunities, trends, competitive strategies preferred by key market players, the driving factors that boost the growth of the lipase market, and restraints of the market.

To maintain a competitive edge in the organic fruits & vegetables market, the key players invest heavily on the development and launch of new products and on expansions. Leading players such as The WhiteWave Foods Company (U.S.), General Mills, Inc., (U.S.), H. J. Heinz Company (U.S.), and CSC Brands L.P. (U.S.) have been profiled in the report. The report also provides a complete analysis of the prominent companies and a chronology of developments with respect to new products launched and their applications.

For more information please click on: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mphb2ax/organic_fruits_and_vegetables

 It's hidden away in an amazing place, but it could be the key to our survival if the world falls victim to a serious environmental disaster - everyone needs to know about these remarkable "libraries."

Click here to see articles and videos on seed libraries. 

January 5, 2016 - Kitchener, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, today announced CanExport, a new program that will provide $50 million to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of global export opportunities.

CanExport is one of the building blocks of the government’s export strategy: it will help Canadian companies take advantage of opportunities abroad and increase their competitiveness, while creating jobs and growth at home.

CanExport will provide Canadian small businesses with matching contributions of between $10,000 and $100,000 toward export development costs. The new program will benefit hundreds of companies each year over the next five years.

CanExport was launched today at Communitech, an industry-led innovation centre that supports and fosters a community of nearly a thousand tech companies at all stages of growth and development, many of which will be able to take advantage of this new program.

To be eligible for the program, companies must employ fewer than 250 employees and have annual revenue in Canada of between $200,000 and $50 million. Eligible activities must promote export development and go beyond an applicant’s core activities, as well as represent new or expanded initiatives.


“CanExport is an investment in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. I’m thrilled to begin 2016 with this new program that is a key part of our strategy to help Canadian companies succeed abroad. This program will enable small businesses in Canada to explore new opportunities, giving them an advantage in competitive and potentially lucrative new markets, while creating good-quality jobs at home.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of International Trade

“CanExport is part of our plan to support small businesses that are seeking to become more productive, more innovative and more export-oriented. With this program, which is part of Canada’s trade strategy, we want to make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of government financing and export-oriented supports.”

- Hon. Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P., Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Quick facts

  • Trade accounts for approximately 65 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product, with one in five jobs linked directly to exports.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses employ 10 million Canadians, nearly 90 percent of the total private sector workforce.
  • Over 99 percent of all Canadian businesses are small or medium-sized.
  • CanExport will be delivered by Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, in partnership with the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.
  • Eligible CanExport costs include travel, participation at trade fairs, market research, adaptation of marketing tools for new markets and legal fees associated with distribution and representation agreements.

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The Standards Interpretation Committee submits new questions & answers to public consultation. These new interpretations are based on the revised Canadian Organic Standards published November 25 2015.

Public Comment Period – January 15 to February 15 2016

Click here to consult the proposed answers by the SIC and submit your comments.

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