Growing BC’s organic industry

A proposed change will require all products marketed as organic in B.C. to be certified in a provincial or national certification program.

A proposed change will require all products marketed as organic in B.C. to be certified under either a provincial or national certification program.

A local farmer and head of several provincial organizations applauds efforts to make the meaning of the word organic clear to consumers.

A proposed change will require all products marketed as organic in B.C. to be certified under either a provincial or national certification program. Operators producing and selling their organic products strictly within B.C. will require provincial certification. B.C. companies with customers in other provinces or countries will require certification by a federally accredited body, just as they do today.

For me I think it’s a great positive move and the organic industry has been working with the provincial government to have this happen for quite awhile,” Kevin Klippenstein, owner of Klippers Organics in Cawston, said during a telephone interview Monday.

The new provincial certification program follows the same standards as the national program, but with streamlined record keeping and documentation practices.

Provincial certification offers growers access to the local organic market with less paperwork, while still ensuring B.C. consumers have certainty when purchasing organic foods.

Klippenstein, who is the chair of the Organic Farming Institute of BC, grows a variety of fruits and vegetables at his 40-acre farm in Cawston. Most of the produce is sold at farmers’ markets and to restaurants.

He spends a great deal of time educating customers about what makes his produce organic opposed to other BC growers who make the same claim but don’t have the certification.

Certified organics, not certified organics. It makes it very difficult for anyone to differentiate what’s organic,” he said. “Basically to be certified you go through a process of inspections by a third party to ensure what you’re doing is organic. But the guy next door at this point doesn’t have to do anything, he can just tell you his product is organic because he doesn’t use sprays on the plant. But what he is doing is using sprays around the base of the plant or something else.”

Klippenstein explained that even some organic farmers use sprays of some kind but that they cannot be synthetic and must be natural based.

We don’t use any sprays at our farm,” he said. “We use different methods, crop rotation, companion planting. It’s all about building your soil and creating an ecosystem.”

Although guidelines for the organic certification have not been fully decided a good framework is starting to develop, Klippenstein said, and he’s eager to hear more in the coming months.

I think it’s going to be great for the consumer. It’s not going to make the organic farmer any more money necessarily but it’s going to ensure the consumer is getting what they think they are buying,” he said.

If new guidelines are passed, following the development of an effective and efficient administration and enforcement system and a suitable period of transition, producers and processors that are not certified under either the provincial or federal certification program would not be able to use the term organic to describe or market their products.

Producers, processors and handlers of organic products including farm gate sales, farmers’ markets and retail stores, would be required to have documentation verifying their accredited certification.

Reports by citizens concerned that an uncertified product produced and sold exclusively within B.C. was being marketed as organic would be investigated by the B.C. government.

In addition to conversations with Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) and individual farmers, the ministry will be distributing an e-survey seeking input from organic farmers about the proposed model. The responses will be compiled and used to determine how the model being developed should proceed.

By working with B.C. organic sector stakeholders, we’ll develop a model that creates consumer and industry certainty around organic products, and ensures transitional strategies are in place to help small businesses seeking the benefits of joining a brand of recognized organic standards,” B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick stated in a press release. “There are huge opportunities for local organic food producers in B.C. and around the world and this is a key step the B.C. government and stakeholders are taking to best take advantage of them.”




Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Most long-weekend rain has already fallen

A mix of sun and cloud is expected for the last two days of the the Victoria Day weekend.

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Penticton Indian Band councillor trying for federal seat

Joan Phillip acclaimed as NDP candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Former Greyhound bus drivers gather in the Okanagan for one last hurrah

Bash kicks off Friday in Penticton and runs until Sunday

Some South Okanagan students are $1,000 richer

Million Dollar Bursary Program offers bursaries each year to Interior Savings’ young members

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read