The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

September 26, 2007 14:56 ET

Quinte Organic to Receive New Co-operative of Distinction Award

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - Quinte Organic Farmers Co-op adds something special to its organic products: a healthy dose of co-operative spirit. The flourishing co-op, barely three years old, provides an important source of organic food to local farmers' markets, provides a larger slice of the consumers' food dollar to farmer-members and proudly promotes its co-op heritage. On October 17th, Quinte Organic Farmers Co-op will be the recipient of the New Co-operative of Distinction Award, presented by the Ontario Co-operative Association.

Quinte Organic Farmers Co-op (QOFC) was created to pool the resources of local farmers and share in the benefits of co-operative marketing. Like an organic farm, the co-op operates as a closed-loop system because it hires its own members to manage the six farmers' markets it services in southern Ontario. All of the farms involved are certified organic, and their produce and meat provides an important source of healthy and sustainable food to local communities.

QOFC has been a tireless and passionate champion of the values of organic farming through co-operation - shown most poignantly through a series of radio programs they created entitled Listen to the Land. The broadcasts profile the co-op's members over a growing season, and highlight their challenges and successes. The program demonstrates the natural linkages between the co-operative business model and organic farming. "I was struck by the approach of these farmers to public education about organics and co-operation," says Cathy Lang, a Toronto-area co-op developer, "this is an exemplary start for a new co-operative."

The co-op's members have pooled their ingenuity and creativity to demonstrate the importance of the local organic food movement, while never losing sight of their co-op principles and their concern for community. Mary Lou Morgan, a Canadian pioneer in the organic food movement and manager of Carrot Cache, believes that QOFC is an inspiring example for farming and the co-operative movement, noting that the co-operative's members "discuss hard issues and come to resolutions that further the group, rather than the individuals."

Quinte Organic Food Co-op will be presented with the New Co-operative of Distinction Award on Wednesday October 17 during the 9th annual Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards banquet and ceremony. The awards ceremony, the crowning jewel of the Co-operative Conference and Gala, takes place at the Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West in Burlington ON. QOFC was nominated for this award by Jen Heneberry and Russ Christianson, registered co-operative developers.

The Co-operative Conference and Gala, now in its 7th year, is a two-day event that brings together co-op sector supporters, champions and friends from across Ontario and beyond for professional development, meetings and networking. The conference includes tours of Hamilton-area co-ops and more than a dozen workshops and sessions. This October, the Spirit Recognition Award banquet, a tradition in the Ontario co-operative sector for almost 10 years, will celebrate the successes of 10 of Ontario's most distinguished co-operators - including Quinte Organic Food Co-op.

The Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), host of the Co-op Conference and Gala, and the Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards ceremony, is a resource and common voice for Ontario credit unions and co-operatives in the areas of co-operative development, government relations, membership and communications, and lifelong co-operative learning.

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