February 27, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
Celebrating organics while preparing for mainstream acceptance was a key theme of the annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of BC in Vernon, February 22-24.
Many speakers remarked on the fact that the sector had gone mainstream, while many of the producers responsible were conspicuous by their absence from the meeting.
“People who have been pivotal in growing this industry into much more of the mainstream … should be part of this discussion,” said consultant Andrea Gunner, who participated in a panel on the state of industry.
Tristan Banwell of Spray Creek Ranch picked up the theme during the conference’s closing session, noting that small-scale production is valorized but large growers have a part to play, too.
“I think we’d all agree that a large-scale organic chicken farm is probably better than a large-scale conventional chicken farm,” he said. “Let’s get them at the table and add that value.”
Rochelle Eisen pointed out during the association’s annual general meeting that COABC isn’t growing at the same pace as the BC organic sector as a whole. COABC reported 764 registered producers in 2018, up from 748 last year.
COABC president Carmen Wakeling of Eat More Sprouts said finding ways to build connections with other sectors of agriculture is part of a core review the association is undertaking to help it adapt to growing mainstream acceptance of organic products.
“All the work we have done [this weekend] has contributed to that core review,” she said.
Vol. 105 Issue 3
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
Province boosts ag spending
It’s a draw!
Editorial: Vice grip
Back Forty: Snow days make good days for seed selection
Viewpoint: Farmers need to prepare for annual snow melt
Smooth start to season as foreign workers arrive
Sidebar: Province mulls piece rates
Late winter has some Okanagan growers on edge
Ag show attracts near-record attendance
Ag Briefs: Traceability funding available for producers
Ag Briefs: Cattlemen’s launches webinar series
Ag Briefs: Grant winner announced
Labour remains a priority for fruit growers
Dairy, aquaculture take home awards at gala
Farmers need to prepare for uncertainty
Ag critic listens to concerns at farmers’ institute
Growers are responsible for workers’ safety
Robotic milkers sized up during dairy tour
Safe, high-quality silage depends on preparation
Diversification makes orchard a landmark
Ranchers need to match forage with herd needs
Producers question new Indigenous rights law
Hosting TRU students a way to give back
Livestock co-op provides selling, buying options
Sidebar: Market set to stay steady
Research: Bluetongue outbreaks expected to increase
Filling a niche for gourmet mushrooms
Regulations, housing key issues in Langley
Sheep producers seeing value in genetic program
Above and beyond
Vegetation fundamental to farms, landscape
Studies continue on forage, corn crop pests
4-H BC leader singled out
Growers go with the grain of beer revival
Agri-tourism has plenty of room for growth
Rose stem girdler poses threat to cranberries
Site prep critical for healthy hazelnut orchards
Sidebar: BC renewal program opens up
Wannabe: Renewal comes with a new generation of farmers
Woodshed: Deborah and Doug McLeod turn up the heat
A good place to meet up
Jude’s Kitchen: Celebrate spring by eating outside