Organic agriculture typically refers to the production of fruits, vegetables, grains,
and other food products that are grown without the use of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or other items that can prevent
the spread of disease and promote growth. While organic agriculture has recently grown in popularity in the United States
and some parts of Europe, it has not been similarly embraced by the citizens of Canada. In fact, despite significant amounts
of government support for organic agriculture in Canada in the 1980s, there have only been modest increases in the number
of Canadian organic farmers over the past few decades. According to some research, there are approximately 1500-2000 farmers
who participate in organic agriculture techniques in the entire country—who produce only around 1% of the total amount
of food for retail markets. Individuals who are interested in learning more about organic agriculture and organic farming
should first understand the history of organic farming in Canada, its sustainability, negative consequences of traditional
forms of farming, and typical organic produce prices.
History of Organic Farming in Canada
is no question that farming has been done many thousands of years. In Canada, however, organic farming is a relatively new
phenomenon, and developed only in the last 60 years. While the first organic farms were created in Canada in the 1950s, they
grew substantially in number in the 1960s and 1970s. Several certifications were developed in the 1980s which ensured farms
that referred to their produce as “organic” were following specific growing procedures. In addition, a number
of courses that emphasized organic agriculture measures were introduced at Canadian colleges and universities.
Farming and Sustainability
Lately, we hear more about the environment, and how the ways in which we act and
live our lives can play a part in its survival. This is true more so than ever when it comes to agricultural practices, which
can have serious impacts on the health of farmland. Organic farmers can contribute to the sustainability of farmland by participating
in crop rotation, and relying on mechanical cultivation. Growing crops that are native to a specific region—and therefore
do not require excessive amounts of growth stimulants—or raising cattle, pigs, or other farm animals without the use
of antibiotics, also ensures organic sustainability.
Negative Consequences of Conventional Agriculture
the number of people living in the world continues to increase, so does the demand for healthy and nutritious food. Unfortunately,
these increased demands on farms often mean that the lands on which crops are grown or animals are raised suffer quite dramatically.
Some of the most common negative consequences associated with conventional agriculture include soil and water degradation.
In addition, serious health consequences as the result of the consumption of foods grown or raised in the conventional manner
continue to increase among Canadian residents.
The Market Place for Organically Grown Foods
market place for organically grown foods refers to the ways in which naturally raised products will be sold, and who will
purchase the items. According to a study, 87% of individuals who were questioned about their preferences reported concerns
about the inclusion of chemical pesticides in their foods. In addition, 25% of these individuals indicated that they would
be willing to make an effort to go out and purchase foods which did not contain the aforementioned pesticides. Finally, surveyed
individuals reported that they would be willing to pay increased rates for foods that were believed to have been grown in
an organic manner.
- Canadian Organic Growers—Resources for individuals interested in participating in organic agriculture in Canada.
- Organic Farming in Canada: An Overview—Definitions, standards, and techniques used in organic farming in Canada.
- Organic Agriculture—Links and websites for individuals who want to start organic farms and growing techniques.
- Organic Farms Booming in Canada—Discusses increases in the popularity of organic farms in certain parts of Canada.
- Canada Invests in Organic Farming Sector—Information related to a recent push by the Canadian government towards organic farming.
- Is Organic Farming Sustainable—Determines if growing food though organic processes can be sustainable.
- Organic Farming and the Sustainability of Agriculture Systems—Article that examines how participating in organic farming can be an effective way to sustain agriculture systems.
- Organic Agriculture: Sustainability, markets, and policies—Review of different concepts associated with organic agriculture.
- Evolution of sustainability of organic, integrated, and conventional farming systems: a farm and field-scale analysis—Review of the effectiveness of organic, integrated, and conventional farms.
- Conventional Vs. Organic Farming—Describes the differences between conventional and organic farming, environmental fears and health claims.
- Long-Term Effects of Organic and Convention Farming in Soil Erosion—Identifies the ways in which organic and conventional farming contribute to soil erosion.
- Harm From Conventional Farming—Information related to the ways in which conventional farming can cause environmental damage.
- Problems Associated with Conventional Farming—Lists various problems linked to traditional farming practices.
- The Benefits of Organic Food—Lists the ways in which organic foods may be superior to those produced in conventional methods.
- Organic Production—Describes market trends in organic production.
- Industry Statistics and Projected Growth—Projections related to the growth of the organic food market.
- Organic: From Niche to Mainstream—Discusses how market trends in organic foods have shifted in recent years.
- Organic Farming: Key Messages—Comparision of organic farmers in Canada to those in other parts of the world.
- Going Organic: Growing Demand, Tougher Regulations---Outlines many of the regulations associated with organic farming in Canada.