There are few industries that can boast that their domestic supply cannot meet customer demand but such is the case with organics.
It is a rapidly growing industry that spans so much more than the food we place on our dinner tables.
Food certainly seems to be one many people can identify, but it also applies to clothing cosmetic and even a way of life.
Research projects and recent work has centred on activities focusing on expanding organic production for hops, sprouts, and ornamental potted plants. It also expands to crop breeding for improved cultivars, new reduced tillage systems for organic crops, soil improvement and plant health and pest management.
There is such a demand that according to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, 58 per cent of Canadians are purchasing organic products each week and there are more than 4,000 organic farms in the country.
Also of interest is that Canada has the fourth –largest organic market in the world.
There is lots of room to grow.
The minister was in the region this week making a substantial financial contribution, $8 million in fact, that will be invested in the Organic Federation of Canada to lead an organic science cluster that will help respond to market demand and create new opportunities.
The Dalhousie Agricultural Campus ‘ Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada located in Bible Hill took a lead role in the initiative, and is poised to benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars in research.
Funding locally will be used in projects such as extracting oils from plants to develop organic pest controls. There are about 85 researchers linked to the university, from all over the region, poised to receive funds that will assist with initiatives such as managing pest control, crop breeding, improved greenhouse technology and to extend growing seasons.
While the research is based in Colchester County, neighbouring counties, the province and nation as a whole will also see dividends from this program.