The Young Agrarians, a British Columbia-based initiative focused on “growing farmers and food lovers in Canada” has recently launched an online farmer resource map.
Located at youngagrarians.org/umap, the resource map, or UMAP, acts as an online hub to connect and engage young farmers and food advocates by highlighting a diverse array of projects across British Columbia. It pulls together 11 different search categories of information into one mapping platform with a focus on certified or uncertified organics and farmers in start-up.
The UMAP form is for people of all ages to add their farms, seed suppliers, favourite publications and more. The map features event and farm listings from the growing Young Agrarians community – as well as markets, organizations, blogs, government resources, and more. Community members are invited to navigate the map by browsing through categories such as “Market”, “Seed” or “Land”, or to search British Columbia via bioregion or keyword. Young Agrarians invites anyone in the sector to submit a listing to the UMAP through a simple, two-minute process at youngagrarians.org/umap.
Executive Director of Communications/Outreach
The Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC) is looking for an Executive Director of Communications/Outreach. Click for PDF.
Accreditation Board Member Opportunity
The Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC) is looking for Accreditation Board Members. Click for PDF.
Organic Week Proclamation
The Government of British Columbia has issued a proclamation that Sept. 21-28, 2013, shall be known as “Organic Week”.
Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm made the announcement today as the organic industry has organized seven days filled with activities to celebrate Organic Week throughout B.C.
Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson has presented the proclamation to Certified Organic Associations of BC representatives, including Cawston organic farmers Sara Harker and Annemarie Klippenstein. Sara and Troy Harker were named B.C.’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 2013, and Annemarie and Kevin Klippenstein were named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 2011.
The proclamation acknowledges the contribution the organic sector makes to economic and environmental well-being of British Columbia and how the industry is growing to meet the increasing demand for B.C. organic products.
The B.C. government is continuing to work with the B.C. organic farming sector in raising the profile of BC Certified Organic foods and ensuring consumers know about the wide variety of organic food products available in British Columbia.
There is lots to celebrate for Organic Week in British Columbia. New research indicates that Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with BC as the hotspot where two thirds of consumers purchase organic groceries weekly!
To support this growth and to help BC producers promote their certified organic products at farmers markets and retail, COABC created Organic Week materials that producers and retailers could download and customize. Colourful posters and infocards sporting Organic Week graphics and the new Think Before You Eat organic brand messaging are displayed in many venues across BC, generating lots of buzz! (Obtain the password from your certifier or from the COABC office.)
Stay tuned for more marketing resources this fall and winter.
The Organic Week materials from COABC were in part funded by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. through the Agri-Food Futures Fund, Emerging Sectors Initiative, a provincial trust funded from money under the former federal-provincial safety nets framework.
BC Leads in the Organic Marketplace
Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion. The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, far outpacing the growth rate of other agri-food sectors. A diverse consumer base is driving the sector, with 58% of all Canadians buying organic products every week.
In BC, two-thirds of consumers—and over three-quarters of Vancouverites—are buying organic groceries weekly. BC generated 23% of the value of the national organic food and beverage market with strong sales across distribution channels.
Read the entire study conducted by the Canada Organic Trade Association here.
Small Scale Certification Research Project
The Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) undertook research to better understand the needs and issues of non-certified organic producers which deter them from participating in organic certification programs, and investigate possible solutions. The COABC Small-Scale Certification Research Project (SSCRP) process began with the development of a communications strategy and the creation of an SSCRP Advisory Committee. Once this was completed, the kick off for the project involved the identification of key stakeholders within and outside of COABC to approach for consultation. The intent was to engage with stakeholders throughout the project that have left certification, those that are not certified, but claiming to be organic, and urban agriculturalists.
Strategic Plan for the BC Certified Organic Sector – 2013-18
The Strategic Plan for the BC Certified Organic Sector - 2013-18 is now available here
PST Returns on April 1, 2013
Be ready for the return of the PST! The BC Ministry of Finance issued a PST Bulletin for Farmers to help them navigate the return of the PST.
This bulletin makes clear there are 2 ways to claim exemption to the PST.
1) Submit a completed Certificate of Exemption–Farmer form (FIN 458) to each of your suppliers or
2)Show your current BC Farmer Identity Card. Become a registered card holder here
COABC Apple Panel
During Organic week this year, COABC co-sponsored an Apple panel at the Organic Okanagan Festival held at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna. The panel included orchardists, both organic and conventional, and a GMO expert. They dicussed the repercussions of the potential introduction of the GMO "Arctic Apple".
Thanks to event organizers we are able to share the panel in this 4 part video series.
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