My experience working for the Council was interesting – to say the least. I covered a communications coordinator position for a parental leave after a two month internship as a membership assistant. As a part of the selection process, I had to write a commentary on the topic “Can organic feed the world?” as well as do an interview. I was contacted a few days later and told they would like me to intern with them.
What I really liked about my time with the Council was meeting all the hard working entrepreneurs working to provide people with healthy food. Running a business takes courage and dedication and tremendous skill. I felt honoured to get to know the owners of Homestead Organics, Southbrook Vineyards, Sosnicki Organics and Frog Pond Farm. There are many people working hard to provide people with healthy food.
I do think organic food is the way to go. When I eat I prefer clean food, not food that has been sprayed with a multitude of chemicals. To me this just intuitively makes sense. The damage we are doing to our environment – and in turn to ourselves – has to be stopped. Here in Ontario, things like the Lake Erie algae blooms make the results of what we are doing obvious. We can see the blooms! However, other forms of pollution are less obvious, yet we can not afford to continue.
We need to have policies and programs in place that support more-organic ways to grow food. Ways to reduce pesticide use. Here in Ontario, hardly any public (or government) funds goes to support the organic sector. In other provinces this does differ. In Quebec, organic agriculture receives more support from public dollars. Federally not to much is being done either to support organic agriculture. I think citizens have to demand this to change if they want more food grown organically. Of course we can influence things by what we choose to buy. But we also need policies to change so that more of our food is grown organically and so farmers are able to make a fair income doing so.
We also need to make sure that use of the term organic is regulated. Right now, in Ontario, anyone can write “organic” on their food package or sign — unless it is sold in another province. Many small businesses and farms use the word organic and, even though their products may very well be organic, it is hard to know. Having the use of the term regulated would help to solve this problem. Other provinces in Canada already have this in place.
I don’t know about you, but when I bite my apple I don’t want to think about what it has been sprayed with and whether washing it has got most of it off (it likely hasn’t). When I drink my soya milk I don’t want to think about how many times the beans were sprayed to get rid of the weeds. When I grate a lemon for my cakes, I don’t want to think about all the spray that has been used and the wax that the lemon has been coated with.
So, yes, organic week is important and we need to celebrate this kind of food. We also need to take things beyond this week, however, and make sure that policies and programs are in place to support healthy food production. I’ve been organic gardening for the past 3 years at a small farm outside of Guelph. One of the things I like most about going there is the visible proof that growing food organically is truly possible!