With organic food in Vancouver and around the world rising in popularity every year, the number of organic certification programs has also expanded. It’s important to know what factors are considered in the following handful of organizations, so you know the scope of the certification and whether it aligns with your values for buying organic at your local store. For example, the American certification states that a product can be labelled organic if 70% of its contents are organic. Always double check the label to see if it meets your personal standards for organic.
There are many different reasons why people choose to eat local and/or organic food in Vancouver, particularly organic meat. Not only is the process for organic meat healthier for the animals, it is healthier for consumers and for the planet. Organic meat is much healthier for the people who choose meat raised in a grass-finished, hormone-freeenvironment. Organic also uses fewer resources than the mass meat industry, which is notorious for causing large amounts of pollution and eroding soil quality.
Maybe you are already aware of the benefits to choosing organic food in Vancouver. But do you know the difference between separate organic certification systems?
COABC – BC Certified Organic
● Provincial organic standard
● Puts the planet first
● Works with local food systems to protect the environment in food production
● Research and principles are based on the IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements)
● Considers factors like healthy soil, biological diversity, ecosystem harmony, natural socialization among livestock
● Renewable resources
Canada Organic Certified
● National organic standard
● Meets international standards for organic food growing and processing
● Focuses on building soil fertility and eliminates the use of certain substances
● Also demands the frequency that processing facilities are cleaned and how organic products are safely separated from non-organic products
● Independent inspectors verify a company’s organic practices in field and processing facilities
P.A.C.S – Pacific Agricultural Certification Society
● International Organic Standard
● COABC carries out compliance and certification according to internationally recognized standards
● This standard takes the entire supply chain into account, including producers, handlers, distributors, brokers, and retailers
Demeter Certified Biodynamic
● National standard that is internationally recognized
●Two tier certification: “Demeter” and “In Conversion Demeter” for companies that are working towards bio dynamic practices, but haven’t completely transitioned
● Certifies biodynamic agriculture, which is similar to organic practices but a more ecologically holistic approach. Also includes soil fertility, plant growth, ecologically diverse farming.
These are only some options for organiccertification in Canada. Next time you’re at the store, check your favourite products for organic stamps and look up what “organic” means to that organization. At Pasture to Plate we practice biodynamic farming and are Demeter Certified, as well as fully certified Organic.