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It's a Canadian first. Giant grocery chain Loblaws announced this March that their 440 garden centres will completely stop selling chemical pesticides by spring 200.

Grosery Giant to Phase Out Chemical Pesticides

It's a Canadian first. Giant grocery chain Loblaws announced this March that their 440 garden centres will completely stop selling chemical pesticides by spring 2003. In response to overwhelming consumer demand, stores owned by Loblaws (including Canadian Superstore, SuperValu, Extra Foods and Zehrs) by this summer will stock 50 per cent organic, environmentally friendly pesticides and hand out information on reducing chemicals for the lawn and garden.

Chemical pesticides have been linked to cancer, birth defects and nerve damage, and health effects may occur years after even minimal exposure. Dr. Jonathan Fox of the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre estimates 15 to 20 per cent of the population may show symptoms that are linked to exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides. Children are most susceptible due to their size.
Health Action Network Society, hans.org; therecord.com; cbc.ca

Feast of Fields: Support for Local Farming

Imagine being on a local farm and sampling plentiful, elegant delicacies featuring seasonal food fresh from the field. Farm Folk/City Folk is again hosting two mouth-watering Feast of Fields events next month to help raise the profile of local food and agriculture in BC.

Eating locally means fresher, tastier, more nutritious food. It alleviates the environmental impact caused by transporting food over long distances. It spurs local economic growth while conserving farmland through active agricultural use. Eating locally builds community and allows people to know how and where their food is grown.

In Vancouver, the eighth annual Feast of Fields is being held on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the University of British Columbia Farm, which sits on 60 hectares of land that is used for educational and agricultural purposes. Call 604-730-0450 for tickets. Vancouver Island's fifth annual Feast of Fields is on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Cowichan Bay Organic Farm. Tickets: 250-743-4267. For more information, visit ffcf.bc.ca.

National Standards for Organics

Both organic consumers and producers are hailing a new certification program by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The term "organic" will have a unified definition in the United States under new organics standards outlined by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). Organic producers and handlers will have until Oct. 21, 2002 to ensure their products are certified through accredited certifying agents. Canadian organic producers will also benefit: NOP certification will allow them to access growing global markets. While a diverse number of organizations in Canada provide certification services, at time of publishing, only the Canadian Organic Certification Cooperative and OCPP/Pro-Cert have been accredited as NOP certifying agents.

Organic certification resources:
Information on the National Organic Program (NOP): ams.usda.gov/nop/.

Information on the Canadian organic scene: Canadian Organic Advisory Board, coab.ca.

Certification through Canadian Organic Certification Cooperative: cocert.ca.

Certification through OCPP/Pro-Cert: ocpro-certcanada.com.

Information on the organic industry for both producers and consumers:
AllOrganicLinks.com.

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