The Woolwich Observer

Program focuses on climate-friendly farming practices

Federal funding allows Organic Council of Ontario to launch its organic climate solutions campaign

- Justine Fraser Observer Staff


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.

 ?? Submitted ?? Hugh Phillips of the Phillips Family Organic Farm is a participat­ing OCO member.
Submitted Hugh Phillips of the Phillips Family Organic Farm is a participat­ing OCO member.
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