| Celebrating Organic Food and Farming in Saskatchewan?
by Marla Carlson
For the past 15 years I have had the honour of being a part of the organic community in Saskatchewan, and for the past seven of those years I have been the Executive Director at SaskOrganics. This year, SaskOrganics is celebrating some milestones! We are celebrating our 30th anniversary. The organization has had a few name changes along the way, but our foundation has remained the same—a third party verified certification based on the four principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care. Another constant is some pretty amazing volunteers committed to ensuring the success of SaskOrganics itself and the sector we support.
This year we are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund. The committee was founded in response to the introduction of GMO (genetically modified) canola because it was threatening the right to farm and eat GMO free. The committee continues to advocate on behalf of organic farmers and eaters on the issues surrounding GMOs. Most recently it responded to Health Canada’s consultation on its proposal to exempt many gene-edited (also called genome-edited) genetically engineered seeds from government oversight (regulation).
The organic sector in the province is thriving! There are 1,052 certified organic operations (941 organic crop producers, 31 organic livestock producers, and 120 organic processors) and 1.036 million acres under organic management (30% of Canada’s total organic acreage). One of the important roles SaskOrganics plays is to promote and advocate on behalf of the sector from seed to fork. Last year we launched the Abundance Box, which provided a vehicle to showcase the amazing organic food being produced in the province. The Abundance Boxes were shipped off to every province in Canada and four US states, and was so well received that we have decided to make it an annual offering. Our Abundance Box 2021 is filled to the brim with amazing organic and local products. The boxes will be mailed out early December so they are a great way to share a little bit of Saskatchewan with friends and family during the holiday season!
To learn more about the organic sector in Saskatchewan and to order an Abundance Box, visit www.saskorganics.org.
Marla Carlson has been working in the organic sector in Saskatchewan since 2006 and has been eating organic food for longer than she wishes to admit! Her passion for organic food and farming has grown as her involvement in the sector has deepened. She has been working for SaskOrganics since 2014 and has been their Executive Director since February 2016. In this leadership role, she is always looking for innovative ways to fulfill the organization’s mission to cultivate a healthier world for the benefit of all through organic food and agriculture.
In addition to her role with SaskOrganics, she is President of Organic Connections—the largest organic farming conference in Western Canada and Co-President of IFOAM North America. She is also a member of the kway-eskastasowin wâhkôhtowin Steering Committee, a Rockefeller Foundation Food Systems Top Visionary Prize Project and participates in the Food for Thought—Food Systems Game Changers Lab’s Elevating Indigenous Knowledge Cohort.