National Organic Week is here

For the 3rd consecutive year, the Canadian Organic Growers and Canada Organic Trade Association are partnering with groups across the country to celebrate Organic Week in Canada. Canada’s Organic Week is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. Hundreds of individual events showcase the benefits of organic agriculture and its positive impact on the environment.

What you can do:

Canada is the 5th largest organic market worldwide and 9th highest in per capita consumption of organics. There are more than 3700 organic growers. Since 2001 there has been a 66.5% increase in organic farms. The value of the organic market has grown by 160% since 2006. With organic equivalency agreements with the U.S. and the EU, Canada now has access to 96% of the global organic market, valued at $59 billion per year.

Organic farmers apply techniques first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and the use of composted animal manures and green manure crops. Pesticides, herbicides and other synthetic chemicals are not used. Organic animals are fed organic food (e.g. organic vegetable matter, no genetically modified organisms).

Here’s my personal take on organics, a cursory list:

  • Pesticides and GMOs bad.
  • I want to eat clean food.
  • We consume and absorb lots of toxins with limited control. We should control as many as we can.
  • When I go to a farmers’ market I sometimes ask if the produce has been sprayed with chemicals rather than whether or not it’s organic. Getting certified is a long, rigorous process and a costly one, but many farmers without certification strictly adhere to organic principles.
  • I don’t always choose organic, and if I have to choose some organic and some not, I decide based on a variety of factors:
    • Is it thick skinned? If so, I’m willing to go conventional. That said, it was once pointed out to me that pesticides affect the health of farm workers on banana plantations and I remember that when I buy bananas.
    • The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, which changes every year. Strawberries used to be closer to the top of the list. I once tested positive for a sensitivity to strawberries, but conventional strawberries make me react whereas organic strawberries don’t.
  • I prefer to eat locally grown produce whenever possible.

Every day this week I’ll bring you an organic fact.


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