LEOGA strives to make certification simple and affordable for farmers in British Columbia. We pride ourselves on our integrity and efficiency.
If you're here, you're probably considering organic certification for your farm. Welcome! Below, we've summarized the process, but please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
The process of certifying your farm can appear confusing and even overwhelming, but it's actually quite straightforward, if a bit time-cosuming. You can read another explanation of the whole process here, but here are the steps we suggest you take to become certified:
Step 1: Read the two primary documents that govern organic farming in Canada.
This one describes how organic farmers must practice, and this one lists the substances (soil amendments, sprays, etc.) that are allowed or not allowed. You don't need to read them cover to cover right now; for now, just check out the sections that are relevant to the kind of farming you do, so that you can get a sense if you're ready to be a certified organic farmer.
Step 2: Time to choose a certification body, or CB for short.
This is the organization that will directly oversee your certification. There are numerous CBs in British Columbia, which applicants usually select based on the region in which they're located, how much they charge, and whether they certify farms who want to sell outside of British Columbia. Click here to learn more about how to choose a CB, but for now: LEOGA is a good choice if you are concerned about the cost, live in the Okanagan-Similkameen, and don't plan to sell outside of BC.
Step 3: Fill out the initial application of your chosen CB.
You'll be asked for a tonne of information, including a history of your farm, soil and water tests, and a specific farm production plan. This application will begin an audit trail, and will be used to determine how long it will take to become fully certified. The process can take 15-36 months, depending on such factors as how recently the land has been sprayed with synthetic herbicides or pesticides. During this period, your farm is designated as 'in transition to organic'.
Once you have made your initial application, you will pay a yearly certification fee, be subject to once-yearly inspections by an organic verification officer, and be expected to keep careful records of your farming practices. Each year, you will fill out another form for your CB that updates your production records.
Seems like a lot, we know, but trust us: it's really not that difficult. And all along the way, your CB is there to guide you through. Any lingering questions? Don't hesitate to contact us.