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March 2007 - Nr. 3


The Editor
In Canada, eh?
"A Matter of Trust"
KW & Beyond
More of KW & Beyond
The Threepenny Opera
Erhard Matthaes
Dick reports...
AutoShow 2007
Have a (Healty) Heart
Welcome Al Gore!
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
Ewa Podles at Roy Thompson
Nathaniel Dett Chorale
April Listings
Good Shepherd Wins
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Don't Let The Pigeon...
Planet in Focus Call
Aretha Franklin
Red Elvis
Organics Growing in Ontario
Canada's Food Aid
VW Seeks to Tempt US Buyers
Tempelhof to be Closed
Transatlantic Ties
Baby Boom
Germany's Dirk Nowitzki

Ensuring Ontarians get a piece of Canada's billion-dollar organic food market requires a strategy

  Organic food has never been more popular with consumers or growers.  The organics industry is now worth $1.3 billion in Canada, and growing at 20% per year, amazing when compared to the otherwise stagnant food sector.  Loblaws opened the supermarket field, Wal-Mart is throwing its weight into the market, and front-door and farmers' markets are attracting a following.

The problem is that around 80% of the organic food purchased in Canada is imported.   While we don't grow bananas or mangos, we do grow many fruit and vegetables, and produce meat and poultry, dairy products, cereals and oilseeds.  Ontario farmers deserve a bigger piece of this growing organic market.

Why isn't it happening?  Mainly because there are special risks in transitioning to organic production which are not recognized by current farm programs.  As well, there are few organic agricultural extension resources, and few organically-certified processing facilities which growers often need in order to turn their crops and animal products into marketable, value-added goods. Right now, less than one percent of Ontario's agricultural acreage is in organic production, that's only about 500 organic farms.

Think of the benefits of a made-in-Ontario organic food production policy.  Imagine having 5,000 organic farms raising over a million animals organically.  Consider the boost to the agricultural bottom line of supplying 50% of the organic food consumed in Canada.  This profitable new market can contribute to the agricultural economy with rural economic development opportunities in production, processing and marketing, and create a better balance of trade equation by displacing imports. Add to this the ecological benefits for land, air and water, and it is a winning formula.

Increasing organic production by an order of magnitude requires leadership, collaboration and multi-year focus.  But consider the prize that can be reaped!  This is exactly the kind of challenge that needs to be tackled at a high level, at the Premier's Annual Agriculture Summit. Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky is an outspoken advocate for rural Ontario.  Let's hope she embraces the opportunity offered by the March 8th Summit and turns it into a turning point for organics in Ontario.

For details on how Ontario's agricultural sector can grow organically, visit the Ontario section of


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