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$162,700 Grant Positively Impacts Seniors' Communities  

 

Image above: Adèle McKay, Program Manager for the Senior Organic Gardeners program gives a Thank you speech to Ontario Trillium Foundation, who generously funded this project.

Ottawa, ON -- On Friday, September 1st, Canadian Organic Growers (COG) welcomed senior community gardeners and other distinguished guests at 800 St. Laurent, for a Recognition Event honouring the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The event was held as a summer garden party, celebrating the success of COG's Senior Organic Gardeners' multi-cultural community gardens initiative. MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP for Ottawa South, John Fraser and OTF Grant Review Team member Norma Lamont were on hand to congratulate the participants of the grant project and hear about the impact of this grant on members of the community. Click here to read the entire press release!

COG Endorses Organic Council of Ontario’s Appeal to Stop the Release of GE alfalfa in Eastern Canada.

Ottawa, ON - April 6th, 2016 - A letter has been submitted to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and The Honourable Jeff Leal , Minister of  Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, appealing the release of GE Alfalfa in Eastern Canada. COG has added its endorsment to this letter of appeal.

See the submitted letter here

Canada Celebrates Sixth Annual Organic Week Sept. 19-27, 2015

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - September 16, 2015) - September 19-27 is Canada's National Organic Week, the country's biggest celebration of organic food, farming and products. Supported by regional partners and coordinated by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), hundreds of Organic Week events and retail promotions will take place across the country.

"The national reach of Organic Week allows Canadians to celebrate in their individual way. As more organic products emerge on the market, it's becoming increasingly easier to go organic," stated Helen Long, president of CHFA. "The events represent the creative ways Canadians are choosing to add organic products to their lives while protecting their environment and their bodies, and supporting local farmers."

"Each year, there are more farm and winery tours, promotions and bloggers celebrating organics," says Rochelle Eisen, president of COG. "This year a number of restaurants, country wide, are featuring recipes with organic ingredients. Keep an eye out for these organic menu items at your favourite restaurants. And consider taking in a workshop or two, maybe touring some organic farms and wineries. Wish an organic farmer "Happy Organic Week". Whatever works for you. But join us somewhere and learn more about organic food."

The organic market continues to grow, as Canadian consumers look to reduce exposure to synthetic chemicals and genetically modified ingredients, and to make environmentally friendly choices. "More Canadians are choosing organic more often and in the past year we've seen governments catching up to consumer trends with federal investment in the organic sector and provincial initiatives supporting farmers to transition to organic," said Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of COTA. "The organic movement is a true example of how consumer-led efforts can change our world for the better and this week celebrates that success."

Coast-to-coast Organic Week events will range from organic festivals to organic farm tours. Hundreds of health food stores, farmers markets and grocery-chains will use the opportunity to showcase organic products and educate consumers. To find out more about Organic Week events or retail promotions in your area, please visit www.organicweek.ca.

Organic Week was made possible this year by champion sponsors Nature's Path Foods, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, PC Organics, UNFI Canada, Sobeys Inc., Clif Bar & Company and Alive Publishing; by national leaders Green Organic Vegetable Inc, Earthbound Farm, Field Farm Marketing Ltd., Hemp Oil Canada, Yorkshire Valley Farms, DOM International; as well as national supporters The Big Carrot, Beretta, Mike & Mike's Organic, DeeBee's SpecialTea Foods, Grainworks, Organic Garage, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Horizon Distributors, Mumm's Sprouting, Left Coast Naturals, Fruit d'Or, Wholesome Sweeteners Inc., Ecocert, Procert, Fairtrade Canada, Ethical Bean, QAI, Avafina Commodities, Pacific Organic Seafood Association, SPUD.CA, Organic Meadow and Mill St. Brewery.

Image Available:http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2015/9/16/11G054267/Images/OWImage-657912556190.jpg

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For more information please visit cog.ca or contact Julia Dupuis at 613-216-0741 julia@cog.ca.

COG Supports Ontario 's Reduction of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Ottawa, ON - June 10, 2015 - Canadian Organic Growers (COG) congratulates the Ontario government on their new regulations regarding the use of neonicotinoids (“neonics”).

“COG has taken the health issue of pollinators very seriously”, says Rochelle Eisen, President of COG. “COG understands the important role that pollinators, including bees, play in many of the foods we eat.”

The Ontario government has published new regulations banning neonic use for corn and soybean seeds. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to implement such a ban which will take effect July 1, 2015. The new regulation requires a reduction in the use of neonics on corn and soy bean crops by 80% by the 2017 growing season.

Neonics are used systemically as seed treatments in non-organic production and have a negative effect on bee populations. Neonics were introduced in Ontario in the mid-1990’s and today, nearly all non-organic corn and 60% of non-organic soybean seeds planted are treated with neonics. The federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has reported that roughly 70% of bees, in Ontario, found dead in 2012 and 2013 tested positive for neonic residue. Neonics affect a bee’s ability to gather pollen and return to their hives as the pesticide is a neurotoxin that attack receptors in nerve synapses. The exposure increases bees susceptibility to disease.

This announcement comes shortly after the release of a report by the Standing Senate committee on Agriculture and Forestry indicating that neonics are affecting pollinator health and bee populations. PMRA also recently released a draft report indicating that neonics have little positive effect on corn and soybean yields.

COG has been working to improve bee health through promotion of organic agriculture. COG has also published the Neonicotinoid Fact Sheet, and distributed pollinator friendly seeds to Ontario residents through our Feed The Bees campaign.

About CANADIAN ORGANIC GROWERS (COG): COG is Canada’s only national organic charity. Its mission is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Julia Dupuis at 613-216-0741 or Julia@cog.ca

 

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APPEALS COURT BINDS MONSANTO TO PROMISE NOT TO SUE ORGANIC FARMERS

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2013 - After two years, our recent case against Monsanto was dismissed in USA appeals court as Monsanto no longer plans to seek legal action against growers whose crops have been contaminated by “trace amounts” of Monsanto biotech genes. On the basis of Monsanto’s commitment not to sue, the courts ruled that there was insufficient evidence to come to a decision on our need for legal protection against Monsanto.

COG is one of 83 plaintiffs represented Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto.  The case was originally filed in March 2011 by Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) with a complaint against agricultural giant Monsanto asking for a declaration that Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed were invalid or unenforceable. COG was compelled to join the other plaintiffs in filing the suit because Monsanto's patented seed can contaminate neighbouring fields and the owners of those fields, including organic growers, risked being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement. 

“We are disappointed with this ruling but consider it a partial win,” said Rochelle Eisen president of COG.  “The ruling to dismiss required Monsanto’s commitment to no longer sue growers. This tells us that the courts agree we have a right to protect ourselves against this invisible threat. With this knowledge we can now strengthen our legal argument to stop Monsanto. As organic growers, eaters and advocates, we understand the importance of a balanced ecological system that works in harmony with nature and will continue to stand up for Nature.”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters who have donated to COG to assist with our work in this lawsuit. COG will continue to follow updates from our lawyer, Dan Ravicher, and keep our supporters informed should there be any new developments.

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PUBPAT’s Official Press Release

The Complaint

The Ruling

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Organic farmers' suit against Monsanto goes to hearing

Grainews, Jan 5, 2012

A court hearing in New York City at the end of this month will determine if a "pre-emptive" lawsuit by a clutch of U.S. and Canadian organic producers against seed and ag chem firm Monsanto will go ahead.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald said she will hear oral arguments Jan. 31 in Manhattan on a motion by St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto to dismiss the suit filed last March 31 by a group of 83 farmers, seed growers and farm organizations...

Canadian plaintiffs attached to the suit include Ottawa-based Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Quebec advocacy group Union Paysanne, the Manitoba Organic Alliance, the Peace River Organic Producers Association and a number of producers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

"Monsanto's technology is harmful for organic producers and processors," COG executive director Beth McMahon said in a separate release this week. "To penalize our growers for GMO contamination adds insult to injury, and we won't back down from this fight."

 

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Alfalfa a key battleground in organic farming war

Globe & Mail, April 22, 2011

Monsanto says its genetically modified seed will boost yields; organic farmers say it will spell the death of their young industry. To organic farmers like Larry Black, it represents the end of their blossoming industry.

To agricultural companies like Monsanto Co., it is a breakthrough technology that will help address dire food shortages in a rapidly growing world.

A war is escalating over genetically modified alfalfa - and depending on whom you talk to, either the fate of a sector or the future of millions hangs in the balance. The fight has emerged as a key battleground in the increasing tension between organic growers and biotech firms. With food prices rising and concerns mounting about global food demand, both sides have sharpened their attacks. Read more
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A crop of consequences

Eco Living, Supplement to the National Post, April 21 2011

The U.S. government has recently removed regulatory roadblocks for transgenic alfalfa and in Canada Monsanto’s Roundup Ready® (RR) alfalfa is one step away from approval. RR alfalfa has been genetically-engineered (GE) to tolerate glyphosate herbicides, an attribute that would allow farmers to apply weed controlling herbicides without risking crop damage. RR alfalfa will be sold under a Technology Agreement that prevents farmers from saving seeds for future crops and sales of branded Roundup herbicides are an integral part of Monsanto’s business model. Use of GE crops in the U.S. has been blamed for a significant increase in herbicide use. Read More (article on page 6)

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Organic Growers launch 'pre-emptive strike'

Western Producer, April 21, 2011

Canada’s largest organic farming organization has joined 59 other plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at preventing Monsanto from suing them over patent infringement.

Canadian Organic Growers is part of what’s being billed as a “pre-emptive strike” lawsuit filed in a federal district court in New York.

“We’re simply asking (Monsanto) to stop suing farmers when their patented product ends up in farmers’ fields,” said COG national director Laura Telford.

Monsanto Canada spokesperson Trish Jordan called the lawsuit a publicity stunt.

“We never have and we never will sue a farmer for adventitious presence,” she said...Read More

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Local organic insiders watching closely as Monsanto sued over seed patents

April 7, 2011, Guelph Mercury

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed and biotechnology company, is being jointly sued by American and Canadian organic farmers, seed businesses and agricultural organizations.

The lawsuit, filed by the Public Patent Foundation in the federal district court of Manhattan, is an effort to protect organic and conventional farmers from being accused by Monsanto of patent infringement when crops come to be influenced by the company’s genetically modified seed. The legal action is expected to take years to reach a conclusion. Read More

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Canadian organic growers in for the long haul

Better Farming, April 7, 2011


A Canadian organic organization has joined a United States-based lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds.

Laura Telford, executive director of Canadian Organic Growers, Canada’s largest organic farming organization, says her organization joined the lawsuit in a show of solidarity with farmers everywhere. The Organic Growers are among 59 other farming associations, seed companies and farmers taking part in the lawsuit... Read More

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Farmers' political priorities

Toronto Star, April 12, 2011

Organic producers have a political wish-list as well, says Laura Telford, executive director of Canadian Organic Growers. While organic agriculture only accounts for 1.5 per cent of the Canadian industry, it is a quickly growing sector, she says.

“I think our issues have been mentioned, but do our members think they’re going to be addressed or met? I’m not convinced that that’s true,” says Telford.

Those issues include protection from genetic contamination due to genetically modified crops, a reward program for ecologically responsible agriculture and federal investment in marketing the two-year-old “Canada Organic” label... Read More

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Food now on plate for all federal parties

The Tyee, April 12, 2011

Voters are hungry for food policy. All five federal political parties apparently think so, given that each of them has made a national food strategy part of their platforms this election. It's a first, and food advocates across the country are pleased to see it.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was out front, and now the NDP, Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and Green parties have followed suit with their own promises to support a Canadian food policy in some form or another...Read More

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Farmers take on Monsanto


March 30, 2011

In a law suit filed Tuesday, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a Manhattan-based public interest law association, asks the court to consider whether Monsanto has the right to sue farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto's genetically modified seed lands on their farm. Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director, said “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer whose land is contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.” Read More

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Canadian Organic Growers respond to Mischa Popoff's book "Is it Organic?"

Realagriculture.com, November 26, 2010

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Organic Foods

October 14, 2010, Supplement to the Globe & Mail

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5 ways to go organic on a budget

July 2010, Best Health Magazine

If you find yourself standing in the produce aisle, trying to decide between the organic apples and the non-organic apples, consider this: while your "regular" apples might be less expensive, they can carry a hefty environmental and social price tag.

"Agriculture has a huge environmental footprint," says Laura Telford, national director of Canadian Organic Growers. "Getting things to market quickly can mean ignoring the environmental and social costs. These things will add up and have an huge impact on our health."... Read More

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Organic sector to adapt on-farm food safety plans

May 7, 2010, Country Guide

A national organic growers' group plans to pick five commodities for a project to see how best to adapt their current on-farm food safety systems to suit organic production.

The federal government on Saturday pledged almost $50,000 through its Integrated Food Safety Initiative for the Canadian Organic Growers Association (COG) to develop a strategy for determining how current on-farm food safety systems can best meet the "specific needs" of organic agriculture.

Five organic commodities will be chosen for this project "in consultation with organic farmers across the country," the government said in a release Saturday.

"This funding will go a long way to enable the organic sector to begin a dialogue with national agricultural commodity groups to customize on-farm food safety programs to meet the specialized needs of organic farmers," COG executive director Laura Telford said in the government's release.

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A healthy, growing industry. Organic foods

November 12, 2009, Supplement to the Globe & Mail

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Health benefits outweigh the cost of organic eating

August 12, 2009, Insidetoronto.com

Organic food production as a holistic production system focuses on improving the soil by not adding fertilizers and other chemicals, said Laura Telford, national director of Canadian Organic Growers, a federally incorporated charity that promotes organic growing as a social good.

"We think organics has major benefits, particularly environmental, and that it's on society's good to promote organic methods," she said.

Simply put, healthy soil equals healthy plants and organic farmers believe in working with nature's natural processes, not adding things to the soil. Read More

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Canadian Organic Growers' response to Food Standards Association Study

August 4, 2009

In late July, an advance copy of an article (Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review Alan Dangour, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, funded by the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency) slated for publication in a September issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was released to great sound and fury in the media. The report stated that organically grown foods contain no more nutritional value than conventionally grown foods. Below is Canadian Organic Growers’ response to that study...Read more

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Organic Industry Gets Ready for New Federal Rules Governing "Organic"

Feb 10, 2009

Canadian Organic Growers, the Organic Trade Association in Canada and the International Organic Inspectors Association have teamed up with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to help get Canada’s organic industry up to speed on new federal rules governing organic. ... Read more

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Press Conference on Parliament Hill with NDP MP Paul Dewar

Feb 14, 2008

Canadian Organic Growers applauds Paul Dewar’s private members bill as an important step to reclaiming our food system. Canadians have a right to know what they’re eating and a right to know that the food that they’re eating is not contributing to the degradation of their health and the ecosystems of which they are a part. ... Read more

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Canadian Organic Growers’ response to the proposed Organic Products Act

Nov 15, 2006

We believe that a federal regulation is a necessary first, though far from last, step for building a viable organic sector in Canada. We see organic agriculture not only as an essential tool to help move Canadian agriculture into the 21st century, but we believe that it can help our government meet its environmental objectives and give Canadians the traceable and accountable food system they want. Globally, the most successful organic regimes have received a considerable amount of government support beyond regulatory controls. These initiatives are designed to ensure adequate domestic production and reliable markets. We hope the Canadian government will demonstrate similar leadership. An important first step will be to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to not only implement the regulation, but to help raise public awareness of the new organic label. ... Read more

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Canadian Organic Growers Releases Report on the State of Organic Production in Canada

October 23, 2006

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (October 23, 2006): Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Canada’s largest national organic organization, today released its analysis of the organic farming sector in Canada in 2005. These data were collected with the help of Canada’s organic certification bodies (CBs). According to Anne Macey, the report’s author, “This year’s results provide mixed signals about the health of the organic sector. Certain parts of the country, such as British Columbia continue to show strong growth, while growth in others appears to be slowing down.” ... Read more

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Canadian Organic Growers applauds new organic regulation

September 5, 2006

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (Sept. 5, 2006): Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Canada’s largest national organic organization, applauds the Government of Canada’s new organic products regulation (available at www.cog.ca). “The organic regulation will help put Canadian agriculture on the path towards sustainability” said Janine Gibson, COG’s national President. “The regulation and the new Canada organic label will not only make it easier for Canadian consumers to identify home grown organic products, it will also create new market opportunities that will bring more farmers into the system. This is good news for both the environment and the consumer.” ... Read more

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Canadian Organic Growers Responds to proposed changes to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act

February 2005

Prepared by Anne Macey assisted by members of COG's Seeds Review Committee: Irena Knezevic, Peter Johnston, Chris Wells, Lloyd Strachan, Tom Manley, Jean Arnold, Celia Guilford. Also thanks to the following people who reviewed the document and/or made helpful suggestions: Brewster Kneen, Sharon Rempel, Dan Jason, Harro Wehrmann. When PBR legislation was proposed COG and many individual farmers and growers as well as consumers, made submissions to the Prime Minister and the Agriculture Minister in 1988 and to the Chair of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-15 in 1989. It is interesting and informative to note the concerns COG expressed at that time, the government's response, and today's reality after 14 years of implementation of the legislation. (These are set out below). COG was opposed to the PBR legislation in principle. Among other things we believed it would encourage the escalating use of chemicals in agriculture rather than encouraging the development of seed varieties which promote sound agricultural practices. At that time 50% of all "new varieties" of some crops were genetically engineered (GE) and being developed for tolerance to herbicides. COG’s suspicions proved correct as many of the “new varieties” that have been introduced are indeed GE and have caused an increased use of herbicides on Canadian farms. Although corporate-funded scientists would have us believe that GE foods are safe, virtually all of the independent research done on GE crops raises questions associated with risks to human health, soil quality, biodiversity, pollution, and increased input costs to farmers. Read more

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Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

December 2004

Read the Report

 

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Canadian Organic Growers appears before Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

April 22, 2004

Read the Report