When you hear the word organic, you might think of all the things that we DO NOT support; things like factory farms, antibiotics and hormones, genetically modified organisms, and synthetic fertilizers.
But could you name some of the things that we DO promote? You might be surprised to know that the list includes not just animal welfare and genetic diversity, but also local food systems, human health, renewable resources, and soil fertility.
Organic is a holistic approach to food that considers all aspects of the ecosystem, including soil organisms, insects, plants, animals, and people. It is about living in balance and harmony with the environment. The more informed we are about the food we eat and how it is grown and processed, the more likely we are to end up with a food system that benefits all life on this planet.
General Principles of Organic Production
There are 7 principles that inform the Canadian Organic Standards:
- Protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and support a sound state of health.
- Maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil.
- Maintain biological diversity within the system.
- Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise.
- Provide attentive care that promotes the health and behavioral needs of livestock.
- Prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production.
- Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems.
The Canadian Organic Standards
CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006, Amended October 2008, December 2009, June 2011
Permitted Substances Lists (376 KB)
CAN/CGSB-32.311-2006, Amended October 2008, December 2009, June 2011
Developed by the Organic Value Chain Working Group