Resources

COG PWW creates resources to help farmers and consumers in building a local organic food system (see sidebar for examples). We also recognize that there are many great resources out there on all sorts of topics related to organics and have listed some here for you. To explore any of the following topics, simply click for a list of resources to get you started.

> Buying clubs > Organics and climate change
> Buying local organic > Organic consumer information
> Community gardening > Organic demonstration farms
> GMOs > Organic farmers' cooperatives
> Government information > Organic farming
> Factory farming > Organic gardening
> Farm apprenticeship programs > Pesticides
> Farm organizations > Preserving food
> Food security > Research and education
> Food strategies > Seeds
> Local food projects and organizations > Urban agriculture


Buying clubs

Commons Market/Farmers' Field Growers Collective

The Commons Market runs on an online pre-ordering system and features produce grown by the Farmers' Field Growers Collective, a group of a dozen small-scale, organic growers west of Waterloo. Orders are picked up Wednesdays at The Working Centre’s Queen Street Commons Cafe in downtown Kitchener.

 

Ontario Natural Food Co-op

The Ontario Natural Food Co-op is an organic and natural foods wholesaler that supports the development of buying clubs that order via the company's catalogue or website.

 

Bailey's Local Foods

Waterloo resident Nina Bailey-Dick started a buying club for households in her community, sourcing food from local farmers. Orders are made in advance online and pick-up is weekly through May to October; monthly through November to April.

 

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Buying local organic

Local Organic Farm Directory

COG PWW presents the ultimate resource for sourcing certified organic food in Perth-Waterloo-Wellington and surrounding areas. The directory is product-based, so whatever you are looking for, it should be easy to find. If you're interested in farm gate sales, remember that calling in advance of going out to a farm is always a good idea.


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Community gardening

Guelph Community Gardens Network

Under the umbrella of the Guelph Wellington Food Round Table, this network worked closely with the City of Guelph and the Upper Grand District School Board to secure lands for its gardeners.

 

Waterloo Region Community Garden Network

 

Established in 1997 with the help of the Region of Waterloo Public Health, the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, the Working Centre, Community members and Local gardeners to promote and maintain community gardens in the Waterloo Region though public education, building people’s gardening skills, linking resources and people to the community gardens and information sharing amount its members. Workshops are offered and open to the public.

 

Toronto Community Gardening Network

The Toronto Community Garden Network (TCGN) is made up of interested and energetic individuals and organizations from across Toronto who are committed to greening and organic gardening across the City of Toronto and to making community gardening an integral part of city life.

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GMOs

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

The mission of CBAN is to promote food sovereignty and democratic decision-making on science and technology issues in order to protect the integrity of the environment, health, food, and the livelihoods of people in Canada and around the world by facilitating, informing and organizing civil society action, researching, and providing information to government for policy development. CBAN has been leading the fight against GM crops in Canada. A number of organizations are members of CBAN including COG, EFAO and NFU.

COG's Position on Biotechnology

The organic perspective on why we should be concerned about genetic engineering.

 

How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Food: A Greenpeace Shoppers' Guide

Since Canada does not have mandatory GMO labeling, Greenpeace has created this guide so you can easily identify and avoid products that contain GMOs.

 

Institute for Responsible Technology

 

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) was founded in 2003 by Jeffrey Smith, a leading spokesperson on the risks of genetically modified (GM) foods, to promote the responsible use of technology and stop GM foods and crops through both grassroots and national strategies. Produces the non-GMO shopping guide – a free downloadable PDF!

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Government information

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Established by the Ontario government to provide information on the latest news in agriculture, food, rural, research and innovation, food safety, environment, program resources, agencies, boards and commissions. OMAFRA has an organic department, including an organic newsletter, ON Organic.

 

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

The government organization responsible for ensuring the safety of the food supply. CFIA is also the lead agency regulating the new organic standards and products regulation. CFIA has created the Canada Organic Office (COO) to manage the regulations. CFIA will be responsible for following up on any concerns over false claims of organic production.


Canada Organic Standards

The Cananda Organic Standards became legal in June 2009. Prior to this date, organic certification bodies were not all certifying to the same standard. Now to be considered organic, a product must meet the national standards. The standards include two documents, the General Principles and Management Standards and the Permitted Substances List.

 

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Factory farming

Beyond Factory Farming

A national organization promoting food sovereignty and socially responsible livestock production in Canada.

Our Decrepit Food Factories (Michael Pollan)
The New York Times, December 2007

 

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Farm apprenticeship programs

C.R.A.F.T. Ontario (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario)

 

CRAFT Ontario provides everything you need to apply for a full-season farming internship that could launch your organic farming career which will equip you with the tools and insights to make a real difference in the world.

 

SOIL (Stewards of Irreplaceable Land) Where to Find Local Organic Food in Perth-Waterloo-Wellington and surrounding areas

SOIL links Canadian farmers willing to take on and train apprentices with people wanting to work and learn on an organic farm. They aim to create apprenticeships which transfer lasting knowledge to both the farmer and the apprentice.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

A hands-on vacationing and volunteering opportunity to get first hand experience of organic farming and gardening.

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Farm organizations

Biodynamic Farming Society of Ontario

Incorporated in 1982, this registered charity has 120+ members from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia with their purpose to promote, develop and guide the application of biodynamic agriculture methods in accordance with principles set forth by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 in Koberwitz, Germany.

 

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO)

Established in 1979 to develop and provide programs promoting the practice of ecological agriculture, to educate and increase the public’s understanding of ecological agricultural methods and to bring together people who are concerned about ecological agriculture to share experiences, support each other and create community.

 

FarmStart

FarmStart is a not-for-profit organization working towards increasing the presence of young and new farmers to develop economically, viable, locally based and ecological agricultural enterprises using an Incubator Program which offers access to land, equipment and infrastructure at reasonable rates, along with business planning, support, technical training, mentorship and experience with ecological and emerging farming methods.

 

National Farmers Union (NFU)

Founded in 1908 the NFU was established to represent farmers and growers of England and Wales to promote successful and socially responsible agriculture while ensuring the long term viability of rural communities.  Today, NFU supports the needs of members locally, nationally and internationally.

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Food security

Community Food Security Coalition

The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3), North American organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times. We seek to develop self-reliance among all communities in obtaining their food and to create a system of growing, manufacturing, processing, making available, and selling food that is regionally based and grounded in the principles of justice, democracy, and sustainability.

 

Food Secure Canada

Food Secure Canada aims to unite people and organizations working for food security nationally and globally. FSC is a registered non-profit society with a wide membership which includes local and national organizations and unaffiliated individuals. It works for its members, facilitating collaborative activities by members to advance food security. FSC goals are Zero Hunger, A sustainable food system and Healthy and Safe Food. 

 

 

FoodShare

FoodShare works on the food issues – from field to table with the focus on the entire system, from growing, processing and distribution of the food, purchasing, cooking and consumption. 

 

Just Food

Just Food (formerly Ottawa Food Security Council)  is a grassroots, non-profit organization that includes staff, volunteers, community partners, members and funders which was founded in the summer of 1999 by community members who were concerned about food security began talks with staff from several departments of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton to create alternatives such as community gardens.  

 

Toronto Food Policy Council

Established in 1991 in the absence of federal and provincial leadership on food security, the City of Toronto created the Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) and has been at the forefront of public health initiatives and food security research.

 

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Food strategies

Regain Control of Your Food Choices: Build Your Local Organic Food Strategy

This COG PWW resources allows you to ead about the benefits of local AND organic food and get ideas for how such a food strategy could work for you. The resource highlights the principles of growing, buying, preserving, requesting and learning about food, while also promoting experiencing the seasons fully, connecting with farmers, sharing the process with fellow eaters, and embracing the joy of regaining control of your food choices.

 

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Local food projects and organizations

 

Foodlink

Foodlink is a non-profit organization that creates partnerships with food producers, processors, retailers and consumers to promote the sale and consumption of locally grown and produced food. In building a “food localism” movement, Foodlink is expanding and creating new markets for local farms and farm-based businesses while also building a demand for local food products.

 

Food Down the Road

Food Down the Road was initiated by the farmers and eaters of the National Farmers Union, Local 316 in December 2006 and refers to food that is grown close to home.They consider “local food” to be grown within a 100 km area of the eater. It also refers to the future. They are looking down the road toward a sustainable Kingston and countryside where all citizens can enjoy healthy food through visioning, researching, educating, advocating and partnership building, Food Down the Road is a vibrant community movement building a more vital and sustainable local food system.


Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table
 

The Round Table is a network of food-based organizations and interested citizens working together to build a food system in Guelph-Wellington in which everyone has access to healthy food that is produced and distributed in ways that enable local communities, food producers and natural living systems to flourish.

 

Guelph-Wellington Local Food

Guleph-Wellington Local Food's mandate is to promote the procurement of local food by citizens and businesses. The initiative, housed within the Guelph Community Health Centre, provides leadership and support through networking and promotion of local food producers. 

 

Savour Stratford

Savour Stratford promotes the local culinary heritage of Stratford and surrounding Perth County through events and festivals.

 

Slow Food

Slow Food's philosophy is founded on eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet. It believes food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. There are two local chapters: Slow Food Guelph and Slow Food Perth County.

 
 

Waterloo Region Food Systems Roundtable

The Roundtable is a group of eighteen representatives from key sectors and interests of the local food system who share the goal of healthier food system in the Waterloo Region by networking and policy-making to build a strong voice for a healthy food system in Waterloo Region.  Representatives include local farmers; emergency food providers; food processing, distributing, and retail business people; health professionals; and more.

 

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Organics and climate change
 

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It, Anna Lappé

A book that brings agriculture to the fore of the climate change issue. While there are many grim statistics, Lappé offers a vision of a food system that can be part of healing the planet.

 
Soil carbon and organic farming, Soil Association

 

This report by the UK's Soil Association demonstrates the potential for organic agriculture to mitigate climate change via carbon sequestration in the soil.


 
 
Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture,
Dale Allen Pfeiffer

This book examines the dependency on fossil fuels in the conventional agriculture system - from food miles to fossil fuel dependent fertilizer and pesticide production.

 

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Organic agriculture networks

Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN)

Established in 2000, ACORN is a membership based, non-profit, key organization for information on organic agriculture, eating organics and connecting all the parts together from seed to farmer, to consumer by bringing the whole picture together to make food choices healthier and more environmentally responsible.  ACORN is affiliated with COG.                

 

Organic Council of Ontario (OCO)

The Organic Council / Le Conseil Biologique de l'Ontario is a membership-based non-profit association representing the organic sector in Ontario at a provincial and national level. The Organic Council of Ontario represents all groups (including producers, processors, marketers, retailers, restaurants, suppliers, distributors, certifiers and others), providing leadership and supporting the continued growth of the Ontario organic sector.

 

Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD)

 

Provides a source for organic production, research information and public education along with a forum that brings together producers and other players in the organic food system.  Research and development of sustainable practices for organic agriculture, planning and presentation, representation on important policy issues, public information and education to provide healthy food and fibre, building soil, enhancing crops, managing weeds, insects and disease, humane livestock management, maintaining a system of standards, making the connection between food production and consumption and building a equitable food system with good food and fair compensation. SOD is affiliated with COG.

 

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Organic consumer information

 

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

 

Formed in 1998, this grassroots, non-profit public interest organization campaigns for health, justice and sustainability.  OCA represents over 850,000 members, subscribers and volunteers which include several thousand natural food and organic marketplaces. OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. 

 

Organic Guide

 

A web based guide on organic living, eating, and gardening. Its roots are in Australia, but its messages are universal.

 
 

Organic Family Magazine

Independently published, covering organics, nature, conservation, parenting, pets, herbs, health and wellness issues, progressive politics, books, and much more. It features a mixture of educational, entertaining, and sometimes spiritual articles about the process of moving away from the mainstream, consumer-based world we live in to a place of comfort where we can raise our families contentedly and count ourselves as citizens.

 

Organic Lifestyle


Organic Lifestyle Magazine is a free online magazine (and will always be free) about organic foods, organic and eco-friendly products, alternative health and alternative healing and environmental issues and encompasses topics that the typical consumer of organic foods

may be interested in.

 

Deconstructing Dinner

Listen to this Kootenay Coop Radio program with host Jon Steinmen to hear about a range of important food issues.

 

Grub

 

What is GRUB? 1. Grub is healthy, local, sustainable food for all; 2. Grub is food that supports community, justice, and sustainability; 3. Grub should be universal.

The website has a lot of links to food based projects in the United States. There is also a community food audit worksheet that helps build awareness of the types of local and sustainable food options there are (or should be) in your community.

 

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Organic demonstration farms

Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre

 

Everdale is an organic farm and environmental learning centre. Its purpose is to teach sustainable living practices and operate an exemplary organic farm. The Everdale classroom is a fifty-acre property. It encompasses a working organic farm, mixed livestock, a model home, classroom, forests and meadows. It boasts demonstration models of operating, sustainable technologies.

 

Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming

 

Opened in Sept 2008, this one hectare centre in the northwest corner of the Arboretum will provide practical experimental learning opportunities for students.  Produce will be used in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management to prepare meals, as well as at the child care centre on campus. 

 

Ignatius Farm and CSA

Ignatius Farm is located 2 km north of Guelph, Ontario in the Ignatius Jesuit Centre and has provided sustenance for the Jesuit community since 1913 and as a leader in natural crop production, Ignatius Farm has become a model for sustainable agriculture. It partners with Community Shared Agriculture, FarmStart, Organic Meadow, Land Saga Biogeographical and Ontario Beekeepers Assoc. to facilitate ongoing research and organic farming programs.

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Organic gardening

The Organic Backyard: A guide to applying organic farming practices to your home or community garden

With input from local organic market gardeners, COG PWW produced this resource to support gardeners who want to grow their own food organically. The manual outlines organic principles and details organic methods for building soil fertility, managing pests and diseases, and controlling weeds.

Organic Gardening

A magazine offering a collection of useful articles about all aspects of gardening,including the basics of organic gardening, lawncare, garden design, trees, shrubs and wildlife, soil and organic living.

 

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Organic farmers' cooperatives

LOFT (Local Organic Fair Trade) Farmers' Cooperative

A team of 12 certified organic farmers contribute to the LOFT Market food box that is delivered to families in Cambridge, Conestoga, Drayton, Elmira, Elora, Fergus, Guelph, Kitchener, Linwood, Moorefield, New Hamburg, Petersburg, Salem, St. Jacobs, Waterloo and West Montrose.

Quinte Organic Farmers Co-operative

Quinte Organic Farmers’ Co-operative is run by and for its members, most of whom are farmers. We currently represent 9 dedicated small family-run farms spread across the counties of Quinte, Prince Edward, Hastings, and Northumberland. All farms must be certified-organic to participate in growing for our co-operative, and we are keen to expand our farmer membership. Products include fresh specialty vegetables, fruits & berries, herbs & herbal products, flowers, lamb, pork, beef.

 
 

Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative

Tuscarora Organic Growers (TOG) took root in 1988 when a group of neighboring organic fruit and vegetable farmers discussed the possibility of joining forces in the marketing of their products. By working together, they could coordinate crop production to complement one another rather than compete. And they could enjoy economies of scale in shipping and selling. TOG has 28 member producers and works with 17 non-member producers. All of the producers are certified organic.


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Organic farming

Canadian Organic Grower

Canada's voice for organic food and growing alternatives is a quarterly journal published by Canadian Organic Growers (COG).

 

Canada Organic Standards

The Cananda Organic Standards became legal in June 2009. Prior to this date, organic certification bodies were not all certifying to the same standard. Now to be considered organic, a product must meet the national standards. The standards include two documents, the General Principles and Management Standards and the Permitted Substances List.

 

COG Guide to Understanding the Standards

Canadian Organic Growers prepared this guide to help farmers in understanding the Canada Organic Standards. There are two separate documents, one for the General Principles and Management Standards and one for the Permitted Substances List.

Gaining Ground: Making a Successful Transition to Organic Farming

 

An invaluable tool for all farmers interested in organic farming, whether conventional, transitional or organic. The book covers all bases – from soil-building and planting to certification and marketing, revealing an approach that is much more than simply farming without chemicals. Based on interviews with over 80 of Canada’s organic or transitional farmers across the country, this book provides valuable, practical advice and connects you to a national network of organic farmers, the next best thing to having an organic farmer next door. Farmer wisdom is supplemented with a wealth of scientific informationfrom around the globe.

 

Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers

"Buy local" is the current mantra, and there are many new growers enthused about growing for local consumers. But the biggest challenge is knowing how much and when to plant what for those farmgate, market or subscription customers. This book is for all small scale market gardeners growing for local market - not just organic farmers.

 

Growing Potatoes Organically: from Market Garden to Field Crop

 

Written by a potato farmer with input from other potato farmers, practical information details organic production methods and management strategies.

 

 

Organic Field Crop Handbook

 

The book is a practical reference guide for both organic field crop farmers and conventional farmers who are considering making the transition to organic farming. The handbook contains updated information on growing methods, organic certification and the economics of organic farming in Canada.

Organic Livestock Handbook

 

Written and compiled by Anne Macey with contributions from writers and farmers across Canada and the northern U.S.

 

The Organic Companion: Gleanings from Canadian Organic Growers

 

Contains the best articles from thirty years of COG’s magazines and newsletters.

 

The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman

Written by Barbara and Eliot, they were written because they wanted to help people get as much enjoyment out of organic gardening as they do.

Growing for Market

First published in Jan 1992, Growing for Market is published 10 times a year and is the only national publication for small scale, ecological farmers who grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and plants for local markets. Articles are written by market farmers, market managers and people directly involved in growing and selling local food and flowers.

 

Going Organic Eventually Pays Off

The Toronto Star, July 2008

 

Growers Can Make More Money by Going Organic
USDA Agricultural Research Service, 2006

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Pesticides

What's On My Food?

A project of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN). Has comprehensive information about pesticides on our food, health effects and what you can do about it. Search the database of foods and learn what chemicals and pesticides are found on them.

 

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Preserving food

National Center for Home Food Preservation

Chockfull of recipes that include quantities of fresh ingredients required so you'll know how much to buy to put by.

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Research and education

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States.

 

 

B.Sc.(Agr) Organic Agriculture, University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is the first Canadian university to offer an actual major in organic agriculture as part of its B.Sc.(Agr) program. The major delves into both biophysical and social dimensions of organic agriculture.

 

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC)

Founded in 2001, OACC is the only institution of its kind in Canada and plays a leading role in organic research and education using science-based organic agricultural systems to support healthy Canadian communities to build sustainable communities.  

 

Rodale Institute

Founded in 1947 in Kutztown, PA by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale. Rodale is the longest running study comparing organic and conventional farming techniques and have documented research to show that organic farming offers the best solution to global warming and famine.

 

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Seeds

Seeds of Diversity

A Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of public domain, non hybrid plants of Canadian significance with over 1400 members from coast to coast who grow, propagate and distribute over 1900 varieties of vegetables, fruit, grains, flowers and herbs.

 

Sourcing Certified Organic Seeds

Certified organic farms naturally require certified organic seeds and if you want to garden organically, your seeds need to be certified organic too. COG PWW has compiled a list of Ontario sources of certified organic seeds.

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Urban agriculture

Backyard Bounty

 

Backyard Bounty is a unique community-based agriculture project in Guelph that cooperates with participating community members to convert yard space into productive vegetable gardens. The organically grown produce is sold to local consumers through CSA shares, at farmers' markets and is available at many restaurants in Guelph.

 

City Farmer

For the past 30 years, City Farmer has encouraged urban dwellers to pull up a patch of lawn and plant some vegetables, kitchen herbs and fruit.

 

 

KW Urban Harvest

KW Urban Harvest is a group who harvest fruit trees and bushes in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and share the harvest among volunteers, tree stewards and local charities.  

 

 

OMAFRA's Urban Agriculutre Website

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs released this website in April 2011, offering a central space for information on urban agriculture, whether you're interested in producing food in the city or are a municipal policy maker exploring the topic.

 

SPIN Farming

SPIN stands for Small Plot INtensive. It is a form of organic agriculture that can be applied on very small scale (less than one acre), suitable for in the city or rural communities.

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Help Yourself to Local Organic Food!


COG PWW has a suite of resources that will allow you to do just that:


Food Strategy Build Your Local Organic Food Strategy

Learn why local AND organic are important and how to integrate them into your life.

LOF Directory Where to Find Local Organic Food

Explore the bounty of possibilities in our comprehensive, product-based
directory of certified organic products and farms.

Organic Backyard The Organic Backyard

You are the best source of local organic food - learn how to grow it applying
the same principles organic farmers use.

COG Blog

Become a part of the local organic dialogue at The COG Blog.