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Dear members and organic supporters,

The 2022 Organic BC Board of Directors held their last meeting this week before breaking for the summer. Our Board works on policy, governance and strategic direction, and directors are legally and fiscally responsible for the Society.

Did you know Organic BC has two wings? Sector development and advocacy, and accreditation?

The Accreditation Board is a technical committee (different than a board of directors) comprised of experts that work with staff to administer the BC Certified Organic Program, and under the oversight of the CFIA, assess and recommend accreditation to the Canada Organic Regime. 

To learn more about Organic BC, visit our website and follow @thisisorganicbc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
 
In the meantime, wishing you a successful growing season. Enjoy the e-news and if you were impacted by the November floods, please scroll down to learn about some new funding. I look forward to sharing some upcoming field days and events in the next edition.


Eva-Lena Lang, Executive Director
 

Fund for Farmers: Organic BC Calling on Operators Impacted by November Floods

BC Agriculture Council's (BCAC) Fund for Farmers has reached nearly $800,000! Canadians donated in response to flooding in BC communities last November after learning of the devastating impacts to farmers and ranchers (read the media release here).

All of the donations collected by BCAC were channeled to their member organizations, including Organic BC, who have been working with producers to identify funding gaps after insurance, government programs and other humanitarian efforts.

If you’re an Organic BC operator and were impacted by the November floods, please contact Eva-Lena Lang at ed@organicbc.org (subject line: Fund for Farmers) and provide:
  • Name and location of operation
  • Summary of how you were impacted, with brief details of your losses that weren’t covered by insurance or any other programs
  • Contact information (phone number, email address, mailing address)
  • Payment preference: e-transfer or cheque
The deadline to apply for financial assistance is July 8, 2022. A big thanks to all of the individuals and organizations who donated to the fund!

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau Visits British Columbia

Federal Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau made several stops throughout British Columbia last week. In Abbotsford, she sat down for a meeting with BCAC producer members in an open discussion about the opportunities and challenges facing the sector, particularly in light of climate change, including the recent flooding.
 
Read more on our blog

Organic BC Joins Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC

We’re excited to be one of Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC's newest members! This membership, along with our other memberships in IFOAM - Organics International, Organic Federation of Canada, BC Agriculture Council, Canada Organic Trade Association, and Farmers For Climate Solutions, are incredibly important as we collaborate and support each other’s goals, support BC producers, and work together towards a better food system.
 
Learn more about IAF

Federal Government Abandons Safety Assessments and Transparency for New Gene-Edited Foods

Earlier this month, Health Canada announced new regulatory changes that will allow private corporations to release many new genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) foods onto the market without any government oversight.

This corporate self-regulation of genetically engineered foods and seeds jeopardizes food safety, our environment, and the integrity of organic products, which prohibit the use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
 
Learn more on our blog

New Canadian Organic Standards Public Comment Period

Feedback from certification verification bodies, certifying bodies, operators and other organic stakeholders is encouraged.

This round of questions raised by organic stakeholders includes topics such as: frass from insects, sunlight calculation in greenhouses, parallel production after harvest, and more.
View all questions and proposed answers here.

Year of Organics Toolkit

Join IFOAM-Organics International in celebrating their 50th birthday with the official Year of Organics toolkit! It curates free-to-use visuals and messages that you can now download directly to your device. Use the toolkit to spread the word on how organic can be a pathway to building a sustainable future. Download the toolkit here.

New Farmers For Climate Solutions Report

Farmers for Climate Solutions has released their APF Task Force Interim Report: Rooted in Climate Action—an ambitious roadmap for emissions reduction and resilience in the next Agricultural Policy Framework.

Meet the task force and learn more about their preliminary findings and recommendations here.

New Funding Sprouts More Growth for BC Seeds

To scale up seed production and processing in BC, the Province is investing $90,000 to:
  • support seed growers through seed-education workshops throughout BC
  • create a seed mentorship program and knowledge-transfer events
  • conduct seed trials to select breeds best suited to BC’s climate
  • continue seed-cleaning and processing services throughout BC using mobile seed-cleaning units
  • work with existing seed libraries to identify seed-storage capacity
  • develop a database of seed-exchange systems
Read the full release at: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AF0030-000703

Flood Recovery Deadline Extended

BC farmers whose farms were damaged by floods in November 2021 now have until August 31, 2022 to apply for the Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program.

For the full announcement, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AF0035-000798

Stewarding Agricultural Watercourses (SAW) Project

Despite the ongoing riparian stewardship work undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (AFF), there are still concerns that agriculture isn’t effectively managing riparian areas. So, AFF is building on the programs currently in place and taking the next steps towards water resource stewardship by embarking on the development of the Stewarding Agricultural Watercourses (SAW) project.

The intent of the SAW project is to engage the agricultural community in BC to identify where they are encountering challenges or barriers and determine how we can overcome these.

The first engagement opportunity is through an online survey, which will help AFF better understand how farmers and ranchers are managing riparian areas and watercourses on agricultural land. You can take the survey at: surveymonkey.com/r/StewardAgWatercourse. The closing date is June 30th, 2022.
 
There will be further opportunities to engage with the project through feedback on a Discussion Paper and the final Action Plan in the fall of 2022.
Feast of Fields
Various dates: Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 18, 2022

Feast of Fields is FarmFolk CityFolk's annual local food celebration and fundraiser, held each year on a different farm in Metro Vancouver, on Vancouver Island, and in the Okanagan Valley. More details.

Organic Week 2022

September 12 - 18, 2022

Save the date! The largest celebration of organic food, farming, and products across the country will take place again this fall. More details.
View all events
          
          
Have some news to share? Get in touch with Stacey at: communications@organicbc.org
Feature photo credit: Marjorie Harris. Other photo credits: Niklaus Forstbauer, Danielle Synotte, Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
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