Annual General Meeting

To celebrate our annual general meeting, the Organic Council of Ontario invites both OCO members and the general public to join in a day of discovery.

The entire AGM is open to the public, but please invite your organic minded friends and guests to attend the local, organic feast taking place from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Speaker: Finding the Sweet Spot on a Small Organic Farm

brent preston

When Brent Preston and his wife Gillian left Toronto a decade ago, they were a couple of idealistic urbanites with no clue how to run a farm. Now, The New Farm is a prosperous, sustainable and profitable operation that fully supports both Brent and Gillian and their seven seasonal employees, with 20 acres in production. How did they do it? By rejecting both the dominant industrial model of agriculture and the “small farm orthodoxy” that prevents many organic farmers from turning a reasonable profit. Join Brent as he describes his quest to build a viable business and a meaningful life on a small organic farm.

About Brent Preston

Brent Preston and his wife, Gillian Flies, own and operate The New Farm, a certified organic vegetable operation on the crest of the Niagara Escarpment near the village of Creemore, Ontario. They provide premium quality vegetables to fine restaurants and specialty retailers throughout southern Ontario, and have raised over half a million dollars to help make local, organic food more accessible in low-income communities through their partnership with The Stop Community Food Centre and other good food organizations. Brent’s first book The New Farm: Our Ten Years on theFront Lines of the Good Food Revolution, will be published by Random House in May.

OCO’s 2017 AGM – Draft Agenda

10:00 Arrival and Registration

10:30am – Welcome from Board Chair and OMAFRA (Tom Manley and TBA)

10:50am – Panel: How to Grow Ontario Organic

Drawing from over 550 surveys and interviews from across Ontario’s agri-food sector, consultant Carolyn Young provides insight on what we need to grow the Ontario organic sector by 5% in 5 years. A panel of Working Group members will participate in helping illustrate the need for greater capacity and supports.

12:00 –  Lunch

12:20 pm –  Speaker: Finding the Sweet Spot on a Small Organic Farm – Brent Preston of The New Farm

1:30 pm – Organic Council’s Annual General Meeting (Business Portion)

3:00 pm – Break

3:15 pm – Panel: An Ontario Organic Regulation: Strategy, Challenges and Making it Work for Everyone

We are getting closer to the possibility of regulating the word “organic” in the province of Ontario. However, we know that a regulation alone won’t solve all of the barriers facing organic businesses. So how can an Ontario organic regulation work for everyone? Join panelists from across the organic value chain to discuss.

Thorsten Arnold – Eat Local Grey Bruce
Tony McQuail – Meeting Place Organic Farm
Bethany Klapwyk – Zocalo Organics
Dave Lockman – ProCert
Nicole Boudreau – Organic Federation of Canada
Tom Manley – Homestead Organics

Moderated by Rob Wallbridge

4:30 pm – Wrap Up and Local, Organic Food Walking Tour in Partnership with Taste Real Wellington

5:00-8:30 pm – Local, Organic Feast

Join Organic Council and Taste Real Wellington members, local chefs, retailers and farmers to start the season off right. Sample a cornucopia of local, organic foods and beverages while networking with other businesses and the public. Each participant will be given sampling tickets to “spend” at each station.