On the subject of organics…

We grow good, healthy, organic food. And, have been doing so for the past six years.

FLASHBACK...After we decided that we wanted to grow food that would be for sale at our farm gate, or at local food distributors, we were faced with the question of growing strictly “organic”, or not. After much discussion and soul-searching we uncovered a long list of pros and cons that we might encounter by undertaking such an endeavor on our small plot of land. Once deliberation was behind us, we boldly shouted to each other…YES we will! YES we can!

With the organic or not-organic question posed and answered, we were faced with the next question…how would our potential customers ever know that we farm organically. Did we need a stamp of approval? Did we need certification? Would our customers simply trust us when we told them that we use organic practices? That our food is free of chemicals, that we are good stewards of our land, that we care deeply about the food we eat and the food we grow for others to eat?

Where we live we had a couple of options for organic certification. Even though the one that we decided to work with is not the official certification body in British Columbia, we felt that it would serve our needs quite nicely. After six years – three years of getting our crops going plus three years of the required annual peer-to-peer evaluation process – we were certified organic! But, our certified organic honeymoon was not long-lasting.

In January of this year, the provincial government announced that it will move ahead with a plan requiring all “organic” products sold in British Columbia to be certified, and that accepted certification would come from the COABC, Certified Organic Associations of BC. And, further to that sweeping move, the term “organic” would now be owned by the COABC. Any organization, farmer or food grower/processor that is not certified by an accredited COABC body could not use “organic” to describe their food products. What these recent changes mean to us is that we can no longer refer to the food that we grow as “organic” food. We are not certified by an accredited COABC body, but rather by a grassroots local organization that supports sustainable agriculture and all the good practices that go with that.

With a bit of research we quickly learned that COABC’s intent in restricting the use of the word “organic” was to close a loophole that had allowed farmers and processors to use the term without being certified by one of their accredited provincial bodies.   We are in full support of this step, as we believe that it was taken as a means of ensuring that organic food standards remain high in British Columbia and in Canada. However, for the immediate future our food will not be able to bear the organic label. But, we will continue to use our best organic practices.

If you find this at all confusing, like we do, develop a strong relationship with your farmers, and ask lots of questions.

Here is some of what we do and grow at the farm…

IMG_3710  IMG_4204  IMG_4716 IMG_3789 IMG_5357 - Version 2 IMG_5243 IMG_3725 IMG_5431 - Version 2 IMG_3708 IMG_3700 

And, here a couple of links that will give you a bit of information about this new regulation:

http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/1270414/b-c-organic-regulations-welcomed-by-farmers-markets/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2015/01/26/bc-moves-to-stamp-out-bogus-organic-claims/#__federated=1

And finally, here is a link to COABC.

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