Who We Are

Mission & Vision

How We Do It 

We work to catalyze sector growth, support research, improve training, increase data collection, encourage market development, protect the integrity of organic claims, and inform the public of the benefits and requirements of organic agriculture.  Our vision is for an Ontario in which local organic food systems thrive and grow, improving the health of our economy, environment, and communities.

Who We Represent

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is the voice for organics in Ontario. We are the only full value chain organic association operating at the provincial level. We represent over 1300 certified organic and uncertified ecological food producers, as well as the businesses, organizations, and individuals that bring food from farm to plate

 

Our Commitment to Equity

OCO is committed to the values of Equity and Fairness, Transparency and Inclusivity, Integrity, Continuous Improvement, Diversity of Scale and Practice, Local Food Systems, and Regenerative Food and Farming.  We honour and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples upon whose land our members reside and our food systems depend. We also strive for a fair food system for all including those eaters, farm and food service workers who face or have faced systemic racism and oppression.  

 

Values

 

Our Values:

 

  • Equity and Fairness: We support both the Canada Organic Standard and the  IFOAM definition of organic, which includes principles of health, ecology, fairness and care.  We believe in healthy living and working conditions for all, and support business structures that promote fairness and sustainability, locally and globally.

 

  • Transparency and Inclusivity: We believe in a collaborative and inclusive approach to decision-making.  We communicate about issues and gather input from all stakeholders engaged in organic food systems wherever possible.  

 

  • Integrity: We believe that organic standards and third-party certification are an important way to ensure organic integrity and create sustainable business models. This system must be supported by strong public regulation and enforcement in order to be as effective as possible.

 

  • Continuous Improvement: We believe that organic certification must be practical and accessible while holding businesses to a high standard of quality and care. As the sector evolves, we must work to improve standards and certification practices to ensure that the word “organic” continues to work for all farmers, and represents the principles that it was created to uphold.

 

  • Diversity of Scale and Practice: We believe that there is value in all approaches to sustainable agriculture, and we understand that not all businesses that engage in organic practices are able or willing to become certified. The Canada Organic Standard is a necessary benchmark that can encourage research and innovation to benefit all farmers.

 

  • Local, Organic Food Systems: We believe that a strong regional food infrastructure that emphasizes organic production is critically important to the Ontario food system, and is a fundamental factor in ensuring that our communities, economy and environment thrive.

 

  • Sustainable Food and Farming: We support all agricultural innovations that benefit soil health, reduce the amount of chemical inputs, preserve ecosystems, protect human rights, and encourage fair trade. These innovations improve the entire agricultural system, for all farmers and food businesses.