Demand feared to soon outstrip supply of organic grains

By Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal May 29, 2015

EDMONTON - The rapidly expanding North American organic food industry is suffering from growing pains — a limited number of organic farmers can’t keep up with swelling demand for their crops.

That’s why several organic food processors, other industry players and the federal government are contributing money to boost production in Western Canada with a $2.2-million market-expansion initiative announced Friday.

May 29, 2015, Edmonton, AB:  Today the federal government announced their contribution of $1.2 million under the Western Diversification Program (WDP) to a $2.2 million, 4 year program targeted at achieving growth, resiliency and stability in the prairie organic sector. The initiative will focus on increasing both the quantity and quality of organic field crops while building stronger market relationships.


The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI) will be housed by Organic Alberta, however, it is a partnership across the entire prairie organic sector including the Provincial organic associations. Organic Alberta will be working closely with Sask Organics, Manitoba Organic Alliance, Certified Organic Association of BC, the Canadian Organic Trade Association, The Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada and USC Canada through The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security as well as with producers, grain buyers, processors, certification bodies and major organic brands to develop and deliver programming. 


Quebec Minister of Agriculture Pierre Paradis last week announced a $9-million investment over three years to help increase the number of organic growers in Quebec. Quebec currently has more organic producers than any other province. Paradis claimed to be a strong believer in organic products, but wishes to see Quebec companies occupy a larger market share. Organic sales in Quebec are currently valued at $400 million per year. However, only 30% is contributed by companies based in Quebec. This is the latest in a series of recent announcements in Quebec supporting organic, including Montreal’s organic farm initiative and Equiterre’s family farmers network.

A partnership between a farmer and a university has resulted in an original music video that showcases and celebrates the local food movement.

Organic Alberta members Don and Marie Ruzicka of Sunrise Farm, northwest of Killam, have worked with the Community Service Learning (CSL) Program at both the University of Alberta in Edmonton, as well as the Augustana Campus in Camrose since 2006. They invite the professors and students down to show them how they farm and why they do what they do. They then offer them 3 or 4 potential projects to choose from and they have to put in 20 hours putting it together.  They have had as many as 5 students take on a project and work on it together. This year, Don decided to offer first year students a unique opportunity to use their talents and passion to compose a song and make a music video.  He gave them a few ideas that they could incorporate into a song, and the result was amazing!  Check it out here:   https://youtu.be/dHNK8TDcIx4

Organic Connections, Western Canada's largest non-profit organization dedicated to organizing events for the Prairie organic community, is looking for an enthusiastic, self-motivated, highly organized person to join our team as an event coordinator. This person will organize our major conference/trade show which is held every second year. The next one is scheduled for November, 2016 in Regina. In addition, they will organize smaller events throughout the year, and especially in our "off" year, as directed by the Board.

Location: home office
Employment Terms: part time with possibility of additional projects
Apply by: June 26, 2015
Start date: August 4, 2015

The City of Montreal has announced it plans to transform an abandoned park into an organic farm as part of a collaboration to feed the poor. By 2019, organizers are hoping to transform up to 24 hectares, to produce 250,000 bags of vegetables. Half of the harvest will be sent to food banks, and the other half will be sold through wholesalers to fund the project.




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