Bee Organic – building the local organic food system

Growing Up Organic

Growing up organic

Growing Up Organic is an integrated project that addresses both the supply and demand sides of the food equation by exploring ways to increase the amount of organically grown food served in local institutions, starting with child care centres, so we can focus on the most vunerable members of our society.

Read more about the importance of Growing Up Organic.

Since 2007, COG PWW has focused on outreach to producers and institutions to determine the supply and demand. We have contacted over 100 producers and institutions and have discovered:

  • there are 34 certified organic producers in the PWW region to source local, organic products
  • there are another 20 uncertified organic producers who we are working with to transition to certified organic
  • there is the potential to provide over 600 children with local, organic food
  • certified organic products that can be sourced locally:
    • produce
    • strawberries, raspberries
    • beef
    • grains (wheat, corn, oats)
    • dried beans
    • dairy

Institutional Buying Clubs / Organic Pantries

Just as COG PWW is supporting local producers through production clubs, we are simultaneaously working with institutions to organize around buying clubs. We are working with institutions to identify and source organic pantry items, and develop local purchasing systems.

Incubator kitchens

One of the challenges institutions face when purchasing local and organic products is the seasonal availability of those products. COG PWW is working to identify incubator kitchens to process (freezing and canning) local and organic produce for storage and use throughout the winter.

Research

Producer-controlled processing and distribution models

Research is underway on the feasibility of a variety of producer-controlled distribution systems. Models that are being explored include:

  • Farmer owned cooperatives where one farmer is paid to bring products from all farms in the collective to strategically identified urban markets
  • Centralized food storage/food terminal model
  • On-line pooling and distribution system
  • CSA/ food box programs

Results of these models will be shared with local producers in early spring 2009. Scale appropriate models will be piloted with local production clubs throughout the 2009-2010 season.

Winter CSA Model

As part of our plan to help local institutions source local, organic produce year round, we will be researching and piloting a winter CSA model to share with local organic producers to ensure adequate supply for the demand.