A National Strategic Plan for the Canadian Organic Food and Farming Sector Prepared by: Rod MacRae, Ralph Martin, Anne Macey, Robert Beauchemin and Russ Christianson, with the assistance of hundreds of people in the organic food and farming sector Editor: Rod MacRae In fulfillment of AAFC contract # ....... March 28, 2002
Published by the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, Nova Scotia Agricultural College Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada B2N 5E3
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Why is the development of the organic sector important? 2.1 Adopting organic farming helps governments address pollution problems and their costs 2.2 Adopting organic farming can reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions 2.3. Adopting organic farming builds consumer confidence by not using products, practices and processes seen to be controversial by some consumers 2.4. Adopting organic farming can reduce financial pressures on farmers 2.5. Adopting organic farming can decrease the need for government farm payments. 2.6. Adopting organic farming can help with rural community revitalization 3. The national vision for the organic food and farming sector 4. Key challenges facing the sector 4.1 Introduction - an overview of the Canadian and international organic sectors 4.2. Market challenges 4.3. Farming challenges 4.4. Processing challenges 4.5. Organizational capacity 4.6. Public image 5. The strategic plan - what is being done, what else needs to be done 6. Developing organizational action plans and commitments 7. Concluding remarks Endnotes
This strategic plan has been prepared by Rod MacRae, Russ Christianson, Anne Macey, Ralph Martin and Robert Beauchemin. Many thanks to the hundreds of people who reviewed and commented on draft versions of the report and for the many eloquent postings that appeared on the discussion list serve. Thanks to Randy Whitekker of the Ontario Natural Foods Cooperative for his collaboration preparing the report and the Guelph workshop to generate feedback. Thanks also to Kim Delallo and Tomas Nimmo for support with workshop facilitation, scheduling and logistics. Thanks also to Charles-Eugene Bergèron for all his work on the French version. We are very grateful for the financial assistance of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada’s Agrifood Trade 2000 program and the support of Gilbert Parent, Shelley Manning and Julie Mercantini.
Canada’s organic sector has been emerging over the past 40 years. Although Canada has several regions where organic development is strong, the organic sector is not yet national in vision and activity. For years this absence seems not to have been unduly problematic, but recent developments suggest that the organic sector will miss opportunities, and even be penalized, if a national presence and agenda does not soon emerge. Shifts within domestic and international markets and increased support from the federal and provincial governments signal a new opportunity for the organic sector to strategically develop, based on a plan of its own design. The plan presented in this report is designed around a belief in abundance - that many individual and broader social benefits will result from having many more organic farms on the land, and much more organic food in stores. The development of the organic sector provides government with opportunities to solve 6 pressing policy problems in the food and agriculture sector: C C C C C C
Increased adoption of organic farming helps governments address pollution problems and their costs Increased adoption of organic farming can reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions Increased adopt of organic farming and food processing builds consumer confidence by not using products, practices and processes seen to be controversial by some consumers Increased adoption of organic farming can reduce financial pressures on farmers Increased adoption of organic farming can decrease...
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