Support for Farmers

           Increasing certified organic acres

 

 

 

Thinking About Organic Farming?

If you're considering getting into organic farming, you are probably full of questions - COG PWW is here to get you answers. We offer a mentoring program and workshops to support farmers transitioning to organic. Read through our Thinking About Organic Farming pamphlet and What Is Organic Certification information sheet and contact us with any questions about organic farming or the certification process.

Transition to Organic Advisor Program

Transition advisors are available to provide individual support to new or experienced farmers to support you through each stage of the transition process, including record keeping, farm plans and paper work. Support can happen over the phone, email, or on your farm, and can also include recommending resources and training and helping you network with other certified organic farmers in your area.

COG PWW piloted this program in 2010 and is happy to announce that it will not only be offering this service free of charge again for the 2011-12 season, but that we are also now broadening the program to be available to farmers provincewide.

If you have any questions related to transitioning to organic, please contact one of our advisors today.

Field Crops or Livestock

Nicki Dallmann - About Nicki

416-458-5616

nickael007 @ gmail.com

Produce

Theresa Schumilas - About Theresa

519-885-8775

tschumilas @ rogers.com

 

Workshops

COG PWW offers workshops each seaon to support farmers interested in learning more about organic farming, transitioning to organic and the Canada Organic Standards. Check out our Events page for upcoming workshops in your area.

Or, if you have a group of 5 or more farmers interested in a workshop in the Perth, Waterloo, Wellington or surrounding areas, contact us.

We offer the following workshops:

  • Intro to Transition
  • Transitioning the Small Produce Farm
  • Transition to Organic Crop Production
  • Transition to Organic Livestock Production
  • Record Keeping for Organic Farmers
  • Crop Planning for the Vegetable Grower
  • Growing Potatoes Organically

Support for Organic Farmers

While much of our work focuses on supporting farmers in the transition to organic agriculture, we also focus efforts on supporting our current organic farmers. COG PWW offers such support in many ways: publications and other resources, seed directory, research around direct marketing to consumers, and promotion to consumers through our Local Organic Farm Directory and other awareness-raising projects.

COG Publications and Other Resources

COG publishes technical manuals for farmers and gardeners that are read around the globe. All of our publications are developed by experts and field tested with farmers and gardeners. See a complete list of manuals here.

             

New Practical Skills Handbooks coming soon:

 

 

 

Guide to Understanding the Canada Organic Standards

COG has produced this guide to make interpretation of the standards easier for farmers. There are separate documents for each part of the standards:

General Principles and Management Standards

Permitted Substances List

 

Sourcing Certified Organic Seed

Certified organic farms naturally require certified organic seed. Recognizing that sourcing those seeds (especially particular varieties) can sometimes be a challenge, COG PWW has developed an online searchable database of certified organic seed sources. Browse through the catalogues of nearly 20 organic seed suppliers with one simple search at www.FindOrganicSeed.ca.

 

Certified Organic Produce Price Tracker

With support from the Organic Council of Ontario, the Ecological Farmers of Ontario and the Agricultural Management Institute (AMI), COG PWW has developed a price tracker for certified organic produce in Ontario.

Visit www.OrganicPriceTracker.ca to search for farmers’ market and wholesale/ bulk prices for certified organic produce in your region of sale. Activity will wane after the harvest, but we'll still be posting prices as they are available in the off-season.

This project is always looking for farms to participate by providing their prices, particularly wholesale or bulk prices. Your farm will not be identified, but you will be supporting a project that benefits the organic farming community as a whole, especially new farmers. Please contact us if you are interested in getting involved.

 

Research

Taking Back the Middle

Since 2006, COG PWW has been building a mix of market opportunities for organic and transitioning producers that includes institutions and direct-to-consumer mechanisms. The emphasis of this work is having the producer "take back the middle" from the distribution chain by becoming both producer and seller, thereby allowing producers to become “price setters” (versus “price takers”). Such strategies generally result in producers receiving a higher price for their crops than selling through wholesalers, processors or other intermediaries.

Recognizing that it is difficult to both grow good food and market it, COG PWW is working to support producers in realizing the possibilities. This work has been a part of the national Growing Up Organic project.

       Producer-controlled distribution models

Research was completed during the fall and winter of 2009 on the feasibility of a variety of producer-controlled distribution systems. This research was funded by the Metcalf Foundation.

Models explored included:

  • Community Shared Agriculture (CSA)
  • Producer networks selling through online farmers’ markets
  • Farmer cooperatives

Read the full report Taking Back the Middle: Local and Organic Producer-controlled Distribution Systems.

 

Farmer to Consumer Connections

As a result of this research, COG PWW has helped build the direct farmer to consumer connections that allow producers to "take back the middle." We were involved in supporting the development of the Local Organic Fair Trade (LOFT) farmers' cooperative and the Farmers' Field Growers Collective, which supplies The Commons Market in downtown Kitchener via an online pre-ordering system.

COG PWW offers presentations to workplaces, community centres, neighbourhood groups, and farmer groups who are interested in exploring these models. Contact us if you are interested in a presentation.

Exploring the Local Organic Food System

To learn more about our local organic food system, COG PWW commissioned an exploratory study in 2011. The study interviewed key actors in the local organic food system in our area, including eaters, farmers, restaurants/ caterers, buying clubs, processors, and natural food stores. These conversations revealed some interesting trends and challenges in the alternative system. The report provides a series of recommendations to aid the local organic food movement and its actors in building a stronger system. You can read more about the report "An Exploration of the Local Organic Food System in Perth-Waterloo-Wellington" on our blog and read the full study here.

 

 

 

 

 

"I feel I am working with nature instead of continually trying to control it."
-organic produce farmer