What do we mean?

What distinguishes conventional farming (the practice of growing crops in soil, in the open air, with irrigation and the active application of nutrients, pesticides, and herbicides) from organic farming?

The European Commission describes organic farming as an agricultural method that produces food using natural substances and processes.

This means that organic farming tends to have a limited environmental impact as it encourages:

  • the responsible use of energy and natural resources

  • the maintenance of biodiversity

  • preservation of regional ecological balances

  • enhancement of soil fertility, and

  • maintenance of water quality.

Additionally, organic farming rules encourage a high standard of animal welfare and require farmers to meet the specific behavioural needs of animals.

What are the requirements for a food to be certified Organic in Canada?

Use of the Canada organic logo is voluntary and only permitted on products with 95% or more organic content that have been certified according to the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime.

What are the requirements for imported organic products?

Imported organic products may be certified to the Canadian Organic Standards by a CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) accredited certification body or be certified in accordance with an equivalency arrangement established between Canada and the exporting country. Where an equivalency arrangement is in place, organic products have to be certified by a certification body accredited by that country and recognized by Canada. Imported certified organic products with 95 per cent or more organic ingredients may display the Canada organic logo on the labels. All relevant Canadian legislation would also continue to apply for the imported product.

What does it have to do with the environment?

Over the last few decades, intensification practices in agriculture have helped to increase yields. Whilst conventional farming methods (those which include the use of agrochemicals for plant growth and pest and disease management) have focused on allowing farmers to maximise the productive capacity of their land, there has been little attention paid to improving it.

Intensive farming diminishes soil fertility which leads to further use of synthetic inputs that cause pollution and eventually, loss of arable land.

Pesticide use is effective (in the short-term) at ridding crops of pests, but it also kills the microorganisms in the soil that are incredibly important in providing nutrients to those plants we're trying to grow. As a result of killing off these microbes our soil health is rapidly deteriorating. It is thought that one third of our earth's soil has become depleted already and soil scientists estimate that at the rate we are depleting our farmland, we could have fewer than 60 years of soil left on Earth.

It has become vital to investigate alternative farming methods which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, soil erosion, chemical leaching, water pollution, and the depletion of other natural resources.

Organic farming is one way of creating a sustainable food system. At present, only a small percentage of the world’s agriculture and horticulture is certified organic.

Where can we shop in BC?

Great Documentaries

THE NEED TO GROW available on the Food Revolution Network - This is our all-time favourite documentary for information on our soil dilemma. A must-watch!

Kiss The Ground available on NETFLIX

The Soil Story available on YouTube and Waterbear - Short on time? Check out this 4 minute long video about carbon sequestering and the vital role of healthy soils in restoring the health of the planet.

The Biggest Little Farm available on NETFLIX

Organic: A Manifesto

Certified Organic Associations of BC

BC Certified Organic: Growing How Things Should Be Grown

Certified Organic Association of BC