Canadian organic farmers having trouble keeping up with demand
August 18, 2008
Ottawa - Canadian Organic Growers, the industry pioneer in the organic food and community agriculture phenomenon, says Canadian organic farmers are having trouble keeping up with the growing demand for sustainably produced food.
Demand for locally grown organic food is on the rise across the country. "People are finding out what real food tastes like. After you've sampled an organic tomato or carrot or tasted an organically raised free range chicken direct from a local farmer, it's hard to go back to the bland fare that we're used to eating", says Laura Telford, executive director.
In addition to better taste, mounting scientific evidence suggests that organically grown food is also better for you. A 12 million four-year investigation that tapped the scientific expertise of thirty-three academic centres across Europe has shown that organic foods have more nutritional value. The study also found organically grown fruit and vegetables to contain up to 40 per cent more antioxidants, which scientists believe can cut the risk of heart disease and cancer.
And better nutrition is not all you're paying for when you pop for the organic price premium. According to Telford, organic farming is the only agricultural system that improves soil health and doesn't pollute the environment. "Runoff from conventional fertilizers and chemical pesticides are contaminating Canadian waters and poisoning our wildlife. With its dependence on fossil fuel-based fertilizers, modern agricultural methods also contribute more to global warming than organic methods."
"This is the true cost of a cheap food system. Our choice is to pay farmers more now to prevent environmental disasters, or pay later for the environmental cleanup. Either way - you get what you pay for in the supermarket. If we make the choice to pay farmers more for their ecological services, we'll pay less in the long run and we'll be able to attract more farmers to organic farming, says Telford. And that's a good thing for our health and our environment."
In December 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will begin implementing the Organic Products Regulations passed in 2006. The new law will provide Canadians with the added assurance that all products carrying the organic logo are grown according to the stringent requirements of the Canadian Organic Standard. Questionable products will now come under the scrutiny of CFIA's food inspectors.
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Canadian Organic Growers Inc.