____Posted Tuesday June 6 2017 ____



Organic Council of Ontario to Develop a Directory for the Ontario Organic Value Chain

It will soon be easier to find certified organic ingredients and inputs in Ontario.

Thanks to Growing Forward 2 (GF2) project funding, in 2017 the Organic Council of Ontario will develop a province-wide listing of organic producers, processors, and value chain members that will help strengthen connections throughout the organic sector in this province.

Although the directory will include some consumer-based products, it will largely focus on increasing linkages between businesses. The goal of this project will be to ensure that organic growers can find inputs and distributors for their products, organic processors can find local, organic ingredients, and organic consumers can find farm fresh, local, organic food.

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) applied for funding for this project partly in response to the results of its sector-wide assessment, performed in 2016. “We wanted to find out why more people aren’t transitioning to organic,” says OCO’s Lead Consultant, Carolyn Young. “One common barrier to certification that we identified was access to local organic inputs and distribution channels. It’s hard to find some of these things without knowing where to look. We think the directory is one part of the solution.”

Ontario retail chains identified “Ontario Organic” as the claim that had the highest unmet demand in their stores over Local (Ontario), Local (Regional), Canadian organic, “GMO-free” and “Grass Fed.” Young’s report on the assessment is due for publication in September.

In advance of implementing the directory, OCO will consult with organic sector stakeholders and potential users to ensure the utility and long-term viability of the directory for all members of the value chain. “It’s important to ensure that any product we come up with is truly useful and utilized effectively. We’re going to work hard to make sure that’s the case,” says Sarah Grant, OCO Board Member and Director of Partnerships with Localize, a food data transparency startup.

Another key benefit of the directory will be the establishment of a source of data on organic operators in Ontario. Other regions, including Alberta, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, already have comprehensive directories and data solutions in place.

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