Farmer Outreach

COG OSO provides valuable services to the regional farming community by offering practical learning resources about organic farming practices and about what’s involved in transitioning from non-organic to certified organic status.   Some of these activities are under the umbrella of our Growing Up Organic program, and others are separately planned and delivered.

Farmer Outreach is about support in the form of knowledge.  The knowledge provided to conventional farmers to help them decide to transition to organic production is different than the knowledge provided to existing organic farmers to help them increase their production and/or efficiency and/or skills. Below are some of the activities that our chapter’s Farmer Outreach program includes:
  • Advising farmers the content, interpretation and legalities of the Canadian Organic Standards, about the organic certification process, what to expect at an organic inspection, what is and is not allowed in organic management systems, and organic production methods. In other words, being a resource for farmers on all things organic.
  • Organizing and coordinating (and sometimes co-developing) workshops on various aspects of organic production and/or management. These include Crop Planning, Organic Potato production, Organic Strawberry Production, Organic Parasite Management in Sheep, Transitioning to Organic Production, and Record Keeping for Organic Farmers.
  • Organizing and coordinating other peer learning and networking among organic farmers and conventional farmers wanting to learn more about organic farming. This includes farm tours, kitchen table meetings, field and equipment demonstrations, organizing meetings with specialists/experts, presentations, and trade show displays.
  • Facilitating economic development for organic farmers by fostering relationships between farmers and buyers such as schools, retailers, chefs and the public. Also by providing farmers with knowledge and skills on how to approach and retain customers in a professional manner.
  • Transfer knowledge between organic stakeholders – helping and facilitating the flow of information and new ideas and on the ground realities to those who can benefit from it. In other words, sharing experiences and knowledge between farmers about tools, technology, methods, etc. This also means informing others in the organic value chain of the needs of the farmers and likewise helping farmers understand the needs of their buyers and suppliers. This is so the whole value chain can work more cohesively and thus more efficiently and effectively.
  • Facilitating collaboration among farmers such as through the development of cooperatives and/or production clubs.
  • Interviewing and surveying the farming and farm organization community to assess needs, potential collaboration, sectoral evolution, etc.
  • Representing organic interests at food and agriculture related meetings, conferences, and symposiums. This includes working with organizers of these events to ensure there is a benefit to the local organic farming community.
  • Co-organizing conferences and symposiums geared toward local organic food issues.

To learn how to become a donor or sponsor of our Farmer Outreach activity click here.

Farmer Outreach Coordinator: Colin Lundy