Green Croft farmer Jennifer Welse holds out a clump of organic kale at the Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market Saturday. Provincial regulations say that for farmers to lable wares as organic, certification is required. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna farmers and customers pleased with new B.C. organic regulations

Both see the new regulations, which require market farmers to be certified, as a good thing

The Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market is well ahead of the game when it comes to regulating organic goods.

Since its inception, the market has made it a requirement for those who wish to sell organic food to also carry certification, according to the market’s president Bev Wiens.

“You have to display your certification. This market has been running for 24 years and the Vernon market and other markets have been pretty much the same thing,” she said.

Wiens said markets in the Kelowna and Vernon areas have always been this way.

“As of today they all have to be the same,” she said.

The province rolled out its regulations Saturday, ensuring all farmer’s markets wares meet the same organic standard as grocery stores. Prior to the rollout, there was no regulation to determine what organic wares at the market level was actually organic.

RELATED: Agriculture ministry invests $8 million to bolster organic sector

Naomi Both, with Firefly Farm, which is classified as organic, said the change is fantastic.

“I feel like it’s a good thing the government has caught up with the farmer’s market,” she said. “I think it makes it easier, there’s less doubt and people aren’t questioning it as much.”

“We always had a certificate at our booth and people are welcome to ask questions,” she said.

Farmer Jennifer Wesle, with Green Croft Farm, said she agrees with the regulations.

“Without having the regulation, anyone can say anything,” she said.

Junior sous chef Alex Seeback picked up a large order of organic vegetables Saturday as ingredients for Mission Hill.

As a consumer, he called it a “very good idea” for everyone to get on board.

“As somebody who has worked in a restaurant, I know that there’s a lot of places that will just slap on organic as a label, and you can buy things at the same price,” he said.

He used an example of a mushroom farm in Ontario that sold mushrooms as organic but weren’t.

“I think it’s great though, for it to be possible for people to understand like they know for sure that this is an actual thing,” he said.

At Mission Hill, he said the chefs are in the process of transitioning to organic ingredients.

“For us now to fully transition, I think organic is a big thing and it’s great for the environment and for us,” he said. “It makes a lot easier for us to find a quality product that way.”

RELATED: Meet Your Farmer: Organic farming as a way of life

The new regulations mean all products marketed as organic in B.C. must be certified organic. Until now, products sold in grocery stores or outside the province had to be certified to carry the organic label; the new regulations extend that to farmers’ markets, farm gate sales, retail stores as of 2018,” according to a Certified Organic Associations of BC news release.


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