The federal government is providing organic farmers with over a quarter million dollars to fund marketing organic products to local customers such as childcare facilities, hospitals and schools.
The $258,100 program was announced this week by federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, who says the program will benefit farmers, consumers and the environment.
“Increasingly, families at home and around the globe are choosing to buy organic food,” said Minister Ritz. “The government is committed to supporting our farmers as they seize these new market opportunities.”
Funding for the project, called Growing Up Organic, is being provided to the Canadian Organic Growers Inc. (COG) through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s national Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program (ACAAF).
“Through this initiative, government, farmers and industry are ensuring the continued growth of the agricultural sector, and a vibrant future for organic farming in Canada,” said Laura Telford, Executive Director of COG.
Organic farming promotes the sustainable health and productivity of the ecosystem soil, plants, animals and people. Organic foods are farmed using environmentally sustainable production methods, focusing on practices such as soil regeneration and water conservation.
The project will help organic farmers tap into locally-based markets and encourage the transition of conventional farmers and introduce new farmers to organic practices.
The project will also help develop regional organic value chains, including producer cooperatives and the infrastructure needed to support local distribution and storage.
This will help farmers by providing a high value, secure market and will provide consumers with increased access to regionally grown organic food. Having local distribution of foods also means a reduction in transportation and greenhouse gas emissions, which benefits the environment.