Preserving Okanagan’s agricultural resilience

Organic Okanagan is a declaration initiated with a vision to transition the pristine Okanagan Valley to 100% organic by 2020.

  • Sep. 15, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Summerhill Winery in Kelowna.

Organic Okanagan (OrganicOkanagan.com) was formed in July 2015 by community leaders committed to creating a comprehensive organic network, collaborating with farmers, industry, consumers and all residents.

“Our goal is to bring balance and harmony back to our environment and to nurture and regenerate the land and while doing so, become ecologically and economically resilient,” said Wendy Wright, Organic Okanagan committee member and founder of The Okanagan Greens Society.

“The Okanagan Valley is a unique, highly-fragile agricultural and residential region; we need to protect it and lead the transition of all lawns, gardens, municipal areas, parks, school playgrounds, sports and recreational areas, orchards, vineyards and farms of all kinds, to certified organic practices celebrating full community participation by the year 2020.”

“Our-135 kilometer-long Okanagan Lake supplies a large portion of the region’s drinking water, and has one of the slowest lake retention times, clearing itself only every 52 years,” added Stephen Cipes, founder of the Organic Okanagan movement and proprietor of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, an organic and biodynamic winery.

“It is surrounded by mountainous wilderness for hundreds of kilometers in every direction and is unique as it is the northernmost fruit growing agricultural region on the planet.  This highly vulnerable and delicate eco-system has been historically protected by the original stewards of the land, the Okanagan Indigenous Peoples. It is now crying for regeneration from the relentless unnatural blows of unnecessary chemical agricultural practices.”

The Okanagan Valley, has the least amount of pests of any growing region in the world, making it the easiest to achieve organic transition. The economic rewards and sustainability of growing organic are now well-established and now, in great part thanks to worldwide enthusiasm, organic is the fastest expanding category in supermarkets around the world, said Cipes.

He said organic growing and consumption is the foundation of proactive healthy living versus reactive practices and treatments. The plants remain naturally resistant to disease under a holistic program just as we humans become our healthiest with daily exercise and by consuming organic foods and beverages.

“Organic wine is the single fastest growing segment of the wine industry worldwide,” said Cipes.  “The Okanagan Valley will become a model for the world, demonstrating harmony with Mother Nature and opening the opportunity for everyone in the valley to flourish. Tourism and all businesses will boom, representing abundance which is the world’s natural heritage. Health statistics and vitality levels will be vastly improved and well-noted.”

Organic Okanagan has created a declaration of commitment to:

Sharing Organic Okanagan’s vision with friends and familyGrowing, buying and consuming local organic foods and beverages

Asking where your food and beverages come from and how they’re grown

To consider transitioning your lawn to a garden and to xeriscape your property

To urge all commercial chemical farming owners to consider the future for all our children and their children’s sake

To sign the declaration now, proceed online to OrganicOkanagan.com

For those interested in knowing more about the Organic Okanagan movement, visit Summerhill Pyramid Winery to celebrate and support this Transition to an Organic Future at the 11th annual Organic Okanagan Festival (OOF) on Sunday, Sept. 25.

The OOF is part of Canada’s National Organic Week, Sept. 17 to 25..

The Okanagan Greens Society (OkanaganGreens.ca) and its partners produce the annual Organic Okanagan Festival, designed to be the most accessible and enjoyable organic celebration in the Okanagan Valley.

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