Manitoba’s main organic certification body and a provincial information-sharing network on organic production plan to formally merge on a policy and advocacy front.
The Virden-based Organic Producers Association of Manitoba (OPAM) and the Organic Food Council of Manitoba (OFCM), based in Winnipeg, announced plans Wednesday to create the Manitoba Organic Alliance (MOA).
“It’s very important for all players in the organic sector to work together to ensure that we continue to grow as a movement and make our voices heard at the federal and provincial levels of government,” said Paul Gregory, an organic forage and honey producer from Fisher Branch in Manitoba’s northern Interlake, and MOA’s interim president.
MOA is planning an inaugural meeting for March 14 in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg.
Despite the current economic crunch, demand for organic food remains strong, MOA said, citing the Canadian wing of the Organic Trade Association as saying retail organic sales in Canada have doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion in the past two years.
As well, Manitoba organic retailers report “strong continued sales growth,” MOA said.
A new organic standard is expected to pass into law both federally and provincially in June, MOA said. Organic farmers, retailers and educators should get involved with MOA if they want a “strong voice for Manitoba’s organic movement,” Gregory said.
“Our customers love organic food, and love the direct connection we have with farmers,” said Tabitha Langel of Winnipeg organic retailer Tall Grass Prairie Bakery in MOA’s release Wednesday. “The MOA is important because it will continue to build these connections.”