Principles of Organic Production

Organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. Organic production is based on principles that support healthy practices. These principles aim to increase the quality and durability of the environment through specific management and production methods. They also focus on ensuring the humane treatment of animals. The general principles of organic production include the following:

  1. Protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity, and promote a sound state of health.
  2. Maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing biological activity within the soil.
  3. Maintain biological diversity within the system.
  4. Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise.
  5. Provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock.
  6. Prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing and handling methods, in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production.
  7. Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems.

Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards, CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006. Gatineau , PQ : Canadian General Standards Board, September 2006.




Canada Organic Standards

Canada’s National Organic Standard has been in place since 1999. It was updated in September 2006. The standard details the minimum requirements for the production, processing, storage, transportation, and marketing of organic products in Canada.

The Canadian Organic Standards and Permitted Substances List can be found on the Federal Government's Canadian General Standard Boards' website.


For more information on the Canadian Organic Standards (COS) which came into effect on June 30, 2009, please visit COG's explanatory page.

Organic Federation of Canada - Organic Standards Interpretation Committee info, as well as other info

Manitoba Organic Agricultural Products Act


  Organic in Manitoba

Results of our 2008 Producer Survey: Throughout 2008, OFCM-COG carried out a survey with members of Manitoba's organic sector, including producers, processors, and distributors.  This research provides us with an in-depth look at the demographics and the needs of the sector.  Click on the links below to review the summary report and supporting files.  We thank the Organic Federation of Canada for supporting this research.

Summary Report Attachment 2; Attachment 3; Attachment 4

A slide show of the information presented in the workshop Gaining Ground: Making a Successful Transition to Organic Farming (3MB .ppt file)

COG's Organic Livestock Handbook has been beneficial to many producers. For a discussion on the needs and possibilities of organic hog production please view our Benefits of Organic Hog Production in Manitoba presentation. (5MB .ppt file)

Organic Crops Field Laboratory 



Sustainable Farming Links

The Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network (ACORN)

ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Service - latest information in sustainable agriculture and organic farming news, events and funding opportunities, in-depth publications on production practices, alternative crop and livestock enterprises, innovative marketing, organic certification, and highlights of local, regional, USDA and other federal sustainable ag activities.

BDM Composting (Manitoba)

Beyond Factory Farming - National organization (with a Manitoba Coalition) promoting socially responsible livestock production in Canada

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems – Excellent production and marketing resources for sustainable food systems

Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia – they also have a very active, informative listserv that anyone can join

CyberHelp for Organic Farmers

Equiterre (Québec)

Grass Root Solutions, growing heritage wheat varieties for local markets

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

National Centre for Appropriate Technology 


Natural Systems Agriculture (Manitoba)

The Organic Council of Ontario

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD)

Tiny Farm Blog (Ontario) - A micro-farmer’s photo journal also provides tips, references and links and a wealth of other information on small scale farming

Purpose Group - Helping farms move towards the kind of natural agriculture that farmers and governments around the world are turning to - a revolutionary change.

The Rodale Institute’s The New Farm Website

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – Funding opportunity for US farmers as well as publications, reports, bulletins.




Urban Farming Links

Boston Food Project - Our mission is to grow a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. We produce healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs and provide youth leadership opportunities. Most importantly, we strive to inspire and support others to create change in their own communities.

City Farmer - Resource on Urban Agriculture based out of Vancouver

Sharing Backyards – find land locally

Spin Farming - Small Plot Intensive Farming is a non-technical, easy-to-learn and inexpensive-to-implement vegetable farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size.

Report on the Viability of Urban Farming – by American Farmland Trust




Background Info about Farmers for Climate Solutions Feb 6 2020

Farmers for Climate Solutions is is calling for major changes that could transform their industry from a major polluter to a solution in the fight against climate change. It's possible, experts say, but it likely won't be easy. Check out this CBC newstory. How Canadian farmers can go from climate change polluters to a key part of the solution