Sunday, February 14, 2010

ORGANIC / DeRuyck Farms

Walking the aisles of the Roseisle Grocery Coop store you'll notice the many little"shelf talker" flags bearing the word ORGANIC. In fact, by now you've probably heard and seen it popping up all around,in both the news and in advertising. This buzzword has become part of the common vocabulary, however the definition or meaning of the word hasn't been clearly made and is often misused. In fairly recent history, this important adjective has been applied primarily to food and farming, but its use is not restricted to this, as it has even been used to describe society itself, in the industrial revolution, as "everything that industrial was not"! It has also been called more a philosophy than a science, though the real science is experiencing ever-increasing research on a worldwide scale at the same time as the philosophy has for many become a way of life. Actually,it was Sir Albert Howard (1873-1947) an English agronomist, knighted after his thirty years of research in India , who provided the philosophical foundations for organic agriculture. He published THE SOIL AND HEALTH and AN AGRICULTURAL TESTAMENT(1940), which can be thought of as the movement's bible. Though he never used the word organic, he outlined the connection beween soil health and fertility and and the health of plant, animal and man, even right up to the health of the nation.

Put simply, the term we know, actually became applied to food and farming in the 1940s in the pages of J.I.Rodale's "Organic Gardening and Farming" magazine, (still publishing in the U.S.A. to many thousands of subscribers), devoted to the agricultural methods and health benefits of growing food without synthetic chemicals-"organically".

For our purposes, we will begin by taking this more or less as a definition, but of a process, rather than the product. Since the beginning of the use of this word, it has gone through many permutations.... there is "organic" and there is "organic". Lets begin by thinking of it describing foods grown specifically without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
We can go on in future postings to examine the "organic" process and how it is practiced, certified, marketed, celebrated and often misrepresented.

For the benefit of our customers' choice, we have included high quality food products produced with this"organic" process where we think it works best, on small family farms. In this case, in our local area.
Probably the best example of such a farm is


Gerry and Marie DeRuyck have been supplying us with high quality organic flax and whole grains and flours since we opened five years ago, and have recently added organic sunflower birdseed to our inventory this year.
The exceptional fact about their operation is that they produce their foods all the way from seed to milled finished product right on their farm. They also deliver it themselves to their customers, who include some of the most popular bakeries and food stores in Winnipeg, and they supply oats to the bakers at INTEGRITY FOODS (whose baking we "import" from Riverton). Customers even drive to their farm from Ontario to pick up their produce, the list of which includes Millet, Rye, Sunflowers, Flax, Buckwheat, Oats, Spelt, Barley, Forage Peas, Flours, Flakes, Buckwheat Hulls, and Sunflower Oil.

In October 2009 Gerry and Marie DeRuyck were presented with the 2009 "GOLDEN CARROT" Award at the Manitoba Legislature as part of WORLD FOOD DAY events hosted by the Manitoba Food Charter. The awards honour individuals or groups who are working toward a more just and sustainable food system for all Manitobans. The awards shine the spotlight on Manitobans doing inspiring things with food for communities. Gerry and Marie were reported to be two of the most committed organic producers in Manitoba!
Also nominated in the Rural Communities Food category was Lisa DeRuyck, granddaughter, who works on her family's organic farm at Treherne, involved in pasture poultry and pork.
(see the Treherne Times, Treherne Manitoba, Oct. 19, 2009)

We add our congratulations to the DeRuyck family, all three generations hard at work to provide so many of us with quality foods, independently!

Any questions or thoughts to share on this ?
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