HAMILTON, ON – The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) released their Regenerative Programs Feasibility Study today. Funded in 2019 by an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) $74,200 Seed grant, the report explores ‘regenerative’ agriculture programs and their role in the Ontario marketplace.
“Our rural communities in Hamilton and across Ontario depend on a robust agricultural sector and healthy soil is the foundation,” said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “Promoting responsible stewardship of our resources is crucial to the environmental and economic sustainability of our province’s vital Agri-Food industry.”
“The term ‘sustainable’ is quickly being replaced by the word ‘regenerative’ as people recognize that maintaining the status quo is no longer an option when it comes to farming,” states OCO’s Executive Director, Carolyn Young. “The organic standards have always placed an emphasis on soil health and ecology, but as organic foods become more mainstream, there is a growing hunger for foods and products that can demonstrate tangible climate impacts.”
The growing demand for climate-friendly ‘regenerative’ products that are backed by evidence of ecological improvements time has led to programs like the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC), the Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV), and the Soil Carbon Initiative (SCI). OCO’s report compares these programs and analyzes their potential for climate impact in Ontario and adoption by customers and producers alike.
The report summarizes over 300 survey responses by Ontario customers, farmers and retailers. 72% of customers surveyed were aware of the term “regenerative” and many indicated a clear preference for purchasing climate-friendly foods. Retailers also showed an interest in “regenerative” foods with over a third seeking to stock products with the label.
As part of the project, the generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation made it possible for OCO to host a regenerative farm tour series in partnership with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. The events showcased regenerative and organic farms in Ontario’s Hamilton region and beyond, demonstrating beneficial practices and principles to encourage producers to adopt more climate-friendly farming methods.
“Regenerative and organic are both about finding a better way to produce food – one that helps our climate and communities,” explains Young, “but different programs go about it in different ways. Regenerative programs can complement and strengthen organic; that’s why we’re exploring their potential here in Ontario.”
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $115 million to 644 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.Source : Organic Council of Ontario