Organic sector gets funding

Agriculture Canada has announced $8 million in funding for the Organic Federation of Canada to lead an organic science cluster.


“Investments like this in research and development span the entire value chain, from production through to the consumer, and support the competitiveness, growth and prosperity of the organic sector and our overall economy,” federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz said in a news release.


Two hundred scientists from academia, government and industry are expected to use the funding. Research priorities include crop breeding, creating new reduced tillage systems, enhancing soil health and developing ways to manage crop pests, diseases and livestock parasites.


“This project involves researchers across the country working together to provide us with the tools needed to expand production to meet the ever-growing consumer demand for organic food,” Ted Zettel, president of the Organic Federation of Canada, said in the news release.


In 2010, the federal government invested $6.5 million to establish the organic science cluster.


Mischa Popoff, a former organic inspector, alleges the lion’s share of the $8 million government subsidy will be funnelled into political activism against genetically modified crops. He believes the money should be spent on testing organic crops to ensure they are free of pesticides and other forbidden substances.


“America does require field testing of organic crops to ensure they’re genuine and safe. Canada does not,” said Popoff in a news release.


“We urge Canadian authorities to bring Canada’s organic standards into the 21st century by rewriting them, eliminating all the useless record-keeping and record-checking and replacing it with once-annual, unannounced field testing.”


Popoff said three-quarters of the organic food sold in Canada is imported, squeezing out Canadian farmers.


Zettel was contacted for this story but did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview.

7 Responses

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  1. Not only is three-quarters of the organic food sold in Canada is imported; half of it tests positive for prohibited pesticides.

    Yeah… real organic.

    So much for helping the Canadian organic farmer.

  2. Dr. Andrew Hammermeister on

    The Organic Science Cluster is a collaborative effort managed by the Organic Federation of Canada and the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University. The Cluster includes 37 research Activities being carried out by scientists at 36 institutions (AAFC, Universities, and other) across Canada (see http://www.dal.ca/oacc). All of the research Activities in this Cluster have been scientifically peer reviewed and have clear objectives, none of which include political activism of any sort (which would not be an eligible activity under this AAFC program).

    The fact that Mr. Pratt chose to reference a completely irrelevant source and to publish such ridiculous comments without doing any further investigation is a sign of very poor journalism and questions the credibility and agenda of the author and potentially the paper.

    I am available for an interview to discuss the valuable science that is being conducted that supports the most rapidly growing sector in Canadian agriculture.

    • Mischa Popoff on

      Examples Dr. Hammermeister, examples.

      Where are they?

    • Congratulations Andrew! How many years have you been working on Organic funding? Hopefully you spend it on research not just funding a handful of Latte addicted PHD bureaucrats with no known objectives.

  3. Dear Dr. Andrew Hammermeister:

    Why not provide us with some examples of how this “research” has helped Canadian organic farmers produce organic crops of higher nutritional content, higher yield, and with better resistance to disease and/or drought. Nothing theoretical please. Actual real-world examples of where the harvesting of Canadian organic crops has been materially improved thanks to the millions of dollars this collaborative Organic Science Cluster has already received from taxpayers.

  4. Aggressive belligerence by apparently ‘independent’ individuals is a favourite tactic of the Monsanto crowd.

    Trying to initiate, let alone continue, an intelligent dialogue when the hidden agenda is to cast aspersions on anything that remotely resembles truly independent research is a waste of time. I suggest that Dr. Hammemeister simply stop responding to this thread. His time is much better spent elsewhere, anywhere else in fact.

    • Mischa Popoff on

      Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Cheeseman. But I don’t work for Monsanto or any other biotech corporation. And I don’t make any money from them either.

      And what do you mean when you say Dr. Hammermeister should stop responding to this thread? He already did that two weeks ago because he knows he can’t prove any of his group’s research is worthy of the paper it’s printed on.

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