Article I wrote about our last meeting. Should be in the newspaper this week!
The Alberta Organic Producers Association is a non-profit locally run organization made up of producers, handlers, and consumers who are all committed to working together to build an ethical partnership with nature. By practicing environmentally friendly farming methods, growing non-genetically modified crops, and refraining from synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use they strive to protect our earth for future generations. Members of AOPA meet four times a year at the Namao Hall in Namao, Alberta to discus new topics, share information and plan future events.
At this year’s Winter AGMM, held on March 9th, talk was centered on seed cleaning methods and the distribution of organic beef. Cleaning their own seeds is a great way for organic farmers to remain independent of large seed manufacturing corporations and to maintain the genetic diversity found in organic seeds. With Monsanto steadily acquiring more and more types of seeds, even organic, seed cleaning has become a way to combat this large monopoly’s stake in the industry. Roy Ritchie from Flaman Sales and Rentals was on hand to speak about the different types of seed cleaners and what they can do for organic farmers. From sorting seeds and grain based on size, weight or length to detecting the slightest shade difference, there are now machines for just about any use.
Ted Soudant, Manager of Field Gate Organics, flew in from Ontario to speak on behalf of his company about cultivating a relationship with Organic beef farmers in Alberta. What started as a small group of organic farmers in Ontario, sick of the treatment they and their livestock were receiving at the hands of large processing facilities has since turned into a growing business who supply organic meat to over 70 locations in Ontario including Sobeys. Being in charge of the production, transport, processing, and sale of their own product these farmers and the people supporting them have been able to create a strong foothold in the organic market in southern Ontario. The main difficulty they have faced in this market has been meeting consumer demand. Which is where Alberta beef producers come in. Alberta is easily one of the largest producers of organic beef, yet with no real market to speak of, many farmers forgo the certification process and sell their cattle in conventional markets. Hopefully by joining forces with a company, which has proven that environmentally friendly growing methods and humane slaughter can be a profitable endeavor, Alberta organic beef will also prosper and grow.
If you are interested in becoming organic, or would like more information on organics please contact Kathy @ 780-939-5808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website www.albertaorganicproducers.org.