The Woolwich Observer
Program focuses on climate-friendly farming practices
Federal funding allows Organic Council of Ontario to launch its organic climate solutions campaign
SEEING SHIFTS IN AGRI CULTURAL PRACTICES
as a big part of meeting its climate targets, the federal government is targeting the sector. In that vein, it’s providing funding to the likes of the Organic Council of Ontario (OCO), which has launched its organic climate solutions campaign with the support of the Climate Action and Awareness Fund.
The OCO promotion looks to point Ontario farmers in the right direction on how to integrate climate-friendly practices into their business on a long-term basis. Launched at the top of the year at an organic conference in Guelph, the campaign provides farmers with lists of programs and resources available to help them with greener practices.
“Right now climate change is the biggest threat agriculture faces as it is such a climate-dependent industry,” said Jaimie Cryder, marketing and education coordinator at OCO.
Last year, the OCO received $105,406 from Ottawa through the Climate Action and Awareness Fund to create a campaign that helps farmers who are experiencing issues due to climate change.
“We received funding... to do a farmer-focused campaign to raise awareness of the climate benefits, not just climate, but environmental and economic benefits, of organic and regenerative farming practices.”
Along with promoting more sustainable farming practices, the campaign also seeks to connect Ontario farmers with the mentorship and financial support needed to help them take up climatefriendly practices on their farms.
“The goal of the campaign is to point farmers to the many programs and resources available.
We have our organic climate solutions website where we have brought together all those different programs for Ontario farmers specifically that they can access to support integrating these practices on their farm. As well, we’ve developed a site with a number of videos that offer trainings for integrating and educating farmers about climatefriendly practices, as well as a resource library that has gathered scientifically based articles and reports that promote the benefits of these practices and show that they actually do what they say they’re going to do when implemented,” said Cryder.
Noting agriculture is greatly affected by climate change, the campaign enables Ontario’s farmers to limit some of the potential risks or costs associated when weather events such as flooding or drought occur.
“Regenerative organic practices build resiliency
by building soil, organic matter. You help make your crops more resilient to drought, as well as flooding because it builds the health of soils and so not only do these practices mitigate climate change, but it also helps make them more resilient to the changes we are already seeing. And we’ll continue to see at this point,” noted Cryder.
OCO’s list of resources also include reports and data about organic farm- ing markets and how it is growing.
“Profit margins typi- cally are seen to be higher in organic farming. And so, while there is an initial investment in the transi- tion, and in the transition to organic, once estab- lished, it’s a more stable market.”
In that vein, Ottawa this week announced funding of up to $770, 000 for the Canada Organic Trade
Association (COTA) to support market development for organic products. The funding will help create domestic and international export opportunities and promote the "Canada Organic" brand.
In the meantime, as weather conditions continue to shift, farmers and their livelihoods are being impacted, and the OCO is hoping to make farmers climate solution leaders, pulling carbon out of the air and showing how improvements can be implemented.