Organic Meadow: Innovation Going Strong

 

By Mary Wales- Organic Meadow has made the term innovation mean something to Canadians. The  Co-operative, which was started by a handful of grain farmers, has built the organic milk supply from the ground up in Ontario and is spreading across Canada.

Organic Meadow began as a grain cooperative in 1989 with about 30 farmers who felt that farming should not take the turn that industry advocates were pushing for at that time. The 30 farmers wanted to see a farming a system that respected the environment and could be done the way it used to be done – without synthetic chemicals and pesticides.

The Co-operative started to produce organic milk in 1996 but the sell was a hard one at first.

“Selling the first 700 litres of organic milk produced by the Co-operative’s farmers was a challenge,” states Jennifer Hyde, Organic Meadow’s Product Manager, “because consumers did not know what the word organic meant.”

Today the Co-operative has grown to about 65 dairy producers, 15 egg producers and 20 grain producers. The Co-operative’s products can be found in most major retailers across Ontario and, at a growing rate, in other provinces across Canada. Click here to use their store locator.

 

“At Organic Meadow we try and be innovative and are not just a one-stop-shop. We have just over a hundred different skews of products ranging from skim, 1%, 2% and whole milk to different cheeses to flavoured ice creams to yogurts to even lactose free organic milk,” reports Hyde. “Our Co-operative members have the advantage of selling to a Co-operative working hard to sell of range of different products to retailers.”

The Co-operative is actively seeking new farmers since the demand of organic products is constantly on the rise. Plenty of information about transitioning to organic products is available on their website (www.organicmeadow.com or www.organicmeadowcoop.com).

Organic dairy farmers receive a premium from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario based on the monthly rate of utilization. The Co-op has a team of staff dedicated to guiding producers through the transition and production process. For more information contact Jenny Butcher at [email protected]organicmeadow.com.

 

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