<h2>We Love Organics.</h2> <p>Its the Eve of the annual Organic Alberta Council Conference. In addition to looking after The Organic Box, running our farm in BC, and being a father to our two little boys, I also serve on the Board and Executive Committee of the Alberta Organic Council as Treasurer. Reflecting on the past year both anecdotally and financially, I can say with confidence that the Organic industry in Alberta has come into its own. A decade ago, when Organics first became a mainstream food production concept, there was much enthusiasm and energy converging on this &apos;new&apos; way of eating, but not much money. Producers had small markets to sell to, were competing with food giants to capturesales from a largely oblivious public, and there was little in the way of distribution infrastructure and quality management.</p> <p>We believe 2011 was a watershed year for Organics in Alberta. Many sectors have reached critical mass, consumer demand has been unlocked, and the awareness level of the general public towards Organics is on the rise. Much of the initial enthusiasm and energy has gone, but it has been replaced with a community of producers and processors that are making a go of Organics. We salute this community and hope you will too by choosing to go Organic as much as you can and showing your commitment with your wallet.</p> <p>In our industry, something else happened in 2011, and it is critical as consumers that you are educated about this change.As producers ofCertified Organic products, we are no longer permitted to use the phrase &apos;Certified Organic&apos;. Under the regulations, by definition any product that is Organic must be certified by an accredited Certifying Body. The Organic Boxand our products are certified organic by OCIA - the Organic Crop Improvement Association. However, this new rule leaves the door open for abuse and it is important that as a consumer you are aware of the distinction betweenproducts that are certified, products that are not certified, and products that are &apos;natural&apos;.</p> <p><strong>The Real Organic.</strong></p> <p><img title=&quot;USDA_mark&quot; alt=&quot;USDA_mark&quot; align=&quot;top&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/usdaorganic.gif&quot; /><img title=&quot;COR_mark&quot; alt=&quot;COR_mark&quot; align=&quot;top&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/COR_logo.jpg&quot; /><img style=&quot;WIDTH: 100px; HEIGHT: 100px&quot; title=&quot;OCIA_mark&quot; alt=&quot;OCIA_mark&quot; align=&quot;top&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/ocia_images.jpg&quot; /></p> <p>In Canada, we have a mark for products that are truly Organic as defined by the CFIA regulations - these products have been grown or processed in a federally inspected facility and comply with the Canada Organic Standards. Canada also has an equivalency agreement with the federal government in America to recognize USDA organic products as Organic in Canada.</p> <p>At The Organic Box - if you see the word &apos;Organic&apos; associated with any of our products, then you know that product is truly Organic. All produce we sell is Organic by definition, unless it is marked with a (T). This lets you know that this product is in transition from conventional to Organic but has been grownfollowing the standards.I personally inspect or visit all producers who are transitional and we will not list their product unless I am satisfied that the standards are being followed.</p> <p><strong>Not Certified Organic.</strong></p> <p>Organic is a word that can be used in many different ways - grown organically, organic, pesticide-free. We applaud any producer or processor who makes an effort to reduce the use of toxins in their food production but without having the 3rd party inspections and certification rigour, we cannot assure that these products are free from chemical inputs and additives. We do our best tonot carry products that are incorrectly labeled or misleading about their Organic status.</p> <p><strong>Natural Foods.</strong></p> <p>Many, many grocery items are starting to use the word &apos;Natural&apos; in descriptions and packaging. As a consumer, you should know that this word has no meaning in the food regulations and is equivalent to &apos;Low-Fat&apos; or &apos;Sugar-Free&apos; in credibility and as an indication of health benefits. At The Organic Box, we carry many grocery items that could fit into this category. However, our products have been vetted by our team and the wider industry as being truly better choices for your family and we eat them in our own homes. </p> <p><strong>Ask, ask, ask.</strong> </p> <p>As a consumer, you have the right to ask for proof of Organic status. All Organic products must carry the certifying body details and if you are at a market and see products called Organic, ask to see a copy of the certificate. If the vendor is unable or unwilling to have an honest conversation about the certification pedigree of their products then think again about making that purchase and perhaps seek out products that show the Canada Organic mark or certification status.</p> <p><strong>We want to hear from you.</strong></p> <p>In Canada, the Organic Food Roundtable is currently working on messaging and communication strategies to help inform the general public about the Organic Standards. Please take 10 minutes to complete this simple survey and give us your feedback. The exercise of completing the survey may even teach you a little more about the standard itself and how it is applied in Canada.</p> <p><a href=&quot;http://app.fluidsurveys.com/s/AAFCConceptsConsumers/langeng&quot;>http://app.fluidsurveys.com/s/AAFCConceptsConsumers/langeng</a></p> <p>Havea Great Week!</p> <p>Danny.</p> <h2>Featured Producers</h2> <table cellspacing=&quot;15&quot; cellpadding=&quot;0&quot; bgcolor=&quot;#edf0e9&quot;> <tbody> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p><img title=&quot;GFGJohn&quot; alt=&quot;GFGJohn&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/JohnGFG.jpg&quot; /></p> <p><img title=&quot;GFG01&quot; alt=&quot;GFG01&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/GFG01.jpg&quot; /></p> </td> <td><h2>Gold Forest Grains</h2> <p>John Schneider is a fourth generation farmer based near Morinville. His small family farm supplies wholesome, certified organic grains throughout Alberta.Gold Forest Grains specializesin farm-milled organic flours and whole grain products from heritage and ancient grains. The quality of these grains/flours is unsurpassed, which is evident since both the Prairie Mill Bakery and the Rough and Tumble pancake/porridge mixes are crafted using Gold Forest Grains products. John has an extensive list of wonderful prairie grown, all natural grains and The Organic Box is very proud to offer the following:</p> <ul> <li>Red Spring Wheat Flour</li> <li>Soft White Wheat Flour</li> <li>Whole Grain Rye Flour</li> <li>Golden Flax</li> <li>Spelt Flour</li> <li>Red Spring Wheat Berries*</li> <li>Soft White Wheat Berries*</li> <li>Pancake Mix (John&apos;s own secret recipe)</li> </ul> <p>* Whole grain berries = whole kernel wheat. Choose these items to grind your own flour in your kitchen, or use as a substitute for rice. </p> <p>We&apos;re working on expanding our catalogue of Gold Forest Grain products to include the very popular Buckwheat Flour and a few other items as well. </p> <p>With the cooler weather lately we&apos;ve been thinking a lot about comfort foods. Now is the perfect time to stock up on your dry goods in the kitchen, and start baking some delicious cookies, cakes, and your very own homemade breads! </p> <p>(top photo from Larry Wong, Edmonton Journal)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p><img title=&quot;Denzil&quot; alt=&quot;Denzil&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/Denzil.jpg&quot; /></p> <p></p> <p><img title=&quot;GreenLentils&quot; alt=&quot;GreenLentils&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/GreenLentils.jpg&quot; /></p> </td> <td><h2>New Life Organic Foods</h2> <p>&quot;We grow a variety of certified organic crops on our farm, and occasionally buy certified organic grain from other farmers. We clean the grains in our processing plant, and the further process them into stone-milled flours, cracked grains, split peas, pot barley, and our speciality Five Grain Cereal and Seven Grain Cereal. Our family favorites are the green lentils, the oatflakes, (unsteamed rolled oats) and wheatlets (high fiber cream of wheat)&quot;. </p> <p>The Organic Box has been working with New Lifefor a while now and we absolutely love their flours, lentils, and split peas.They run a wonderfulsmall family farm inDenzil, Saskatchewan and come in once amonth witha delivery of perfect organic flours and grains. Currently we are carrying these products:</p> <ul> <li>7 Grain Cereal</li> <li>CPS WhiteWheat Flour (Canadian Spring Wheat)</li> <li>HRS Whole Wheat Flour (Hard Red Spring Wheat)</li> <li>GreenLentils</li> <li>Oat Flake (Oatmeal)</li> <li>Pot Barley</li> <li>Split Peas - Green/Yellow</li> <li>Wheatlets (Cream of Wheat)</li> <li>Pancake Mix</li> </ul> <p>All theingredients for warm comforting winter baking, and for hearty thick soups to hold off the chills. </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><p><img title=&quot;Mango Kents&quot; alt=&quot;Mango Kents&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/mango kents.jpg&quot; /></p> <p align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;peruflood02&quot; alt=&quot;peruflood02&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/peruflood01(1).jpg&quot; /></p> </td> <td><h2>Flood Relief Mango Program!</h2> <p>Discovery Organics, in cooperation with The Organic Box, has sold over 22,000 mangos for the Peru flood relief program. Monetary contributions are over $12,000! All of which is going directly to the farmers and regions that are being devastated by these floods. It is not over yet though! We are featuring our Flood Relief Mango once again, and everyone should find one in their box this week. <strong>50 cents </strong>from the purchase of every mango will be going towards the disaster relief program set up to support small-scale farmers and their families struggling through this natural disaster.</p> <p><strong>We appreciate your continued support for our farmer family and your commitment to helping the organic community in their time of need. <br /></strong></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>