Category Archives: News

New & Updated EFAO Memberships

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We are excited to announce the following membership categories, developed to support the needs of new and existing EFAO members. Starting September 1st, 2019, the following membership rates and benefits will apply to all membership purchases and renewals.

Click the image for a pdf version of all new membership details:

A few things to note:

  • The Full Membership remains $75 and includes the same benefits as a 1-year Farm/Individual membership
  • While the 2-year membership is no longer available, a discounted $65/year membership will be available if you sign-up for auto-renewal

EFAO wins inaugural Excellence in Agriculture Award

This entry was posted in Farmer-led Research, Issues, News and tagged , on by .


We are excited to announce that EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program is the first recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Agriculture Award.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector, or advanced technological innovation.

The award is a recognition of the importance of farmer-led research in addressing some of the big challenges that we face in agriculture. It also recognizes the hard work and innovation of more than 30 farmers who have received funding and support to conduct over 40 on-farm research trials since 2016. 

“EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program helps farmers combine their curiosity with research to answer their most challenging on-farm questions in a way that benefits their farms, soils, environment, and local communities. We are excited about this award for its potential to help secure funding to continue to support curious and innovative farmers across the province.” Says Dr. Sarah Hargreaves, Research Director, EFAO

“Agri-food organizations like the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario are always pushing boundaries and expanding economic opportunities. What I particularly like about their Farmer-led Research Program is that the research findings are publicly shared, so everyone can benefit.” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Three cheers to all of the EFAO farmer-researchers for making this possible! 

Read more in OMAFRA press release

Watch video of award presentation

Learn more about Farmer-Led Research


We would like to thank our project funding partners who have generously provided financial support for the Program since its launch in 2016: 



Dundalk Area Beef Farmer Wins 2017 Mapleseed Pasture Award

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February 22, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – The Beef Farmers of Ontario, Mapleseed and the Ontario Forage Council, sponsors of the Mapleseed Pasture Award, are pleased to announce that Paul DeJong of Ventry Hill Farm from the Dundalk area in Grey County is the winner of the 2017 Mapleseed Pasture Award. The award was presented this afternoon at the Beef Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting in Toronto.


For his environmental improvements and exceptional pasture management, Paul received a cash award of $500 and a bag of forage seed courtesy of Mapleseed.


Ventry Hill Farm consists of 450 acres, 100 of which are in pasture, along with an additional 30 acres of rented pasture land. Paul runs 50 cow-calf pairs and currently raises about 70 stockers that are pastured during the summer months. In order to maximize pasture production and weight gain, he uses a strip grazing system to maintain a consistent forage height and improve forage quality. This method allows Paul to meet his herd’s nutritional requirements, contribute to calf growth, and ensure his cows are in optimal body condition.


“Pasture is the main source of feed for my herd and there is a high water table in our area,” explains DeJong. “We try to pasture at least six months of the year, and by grazing a fall rye cover crop, pasture can be extended by two weeks.”


To prevent excessive trampling of his forages, Paul installed a waterline to provide fresh water to each paddock, which is equipped with quick-attach couplers for a convenient water supply at all times.


“The weight gain and cost per pound of gain achieved by Ventry Hill Farm proves that effective rotational pasture management can have many environmental and economical benefits,” shares Lawrence Levesque, District Sales Manager, Mapleseed.


Ray Robertson, Manager of the Ontario Forage Council, commented that as producers try to maximize their net profit from every acre, the management decisions made on Ventry Hill Farm are a great example of how some producers can improve the overall profitability of their operation.
The deadline for applications for the 2018 Mapleseed Pasture Award is November 30, 2017.

EFAO Online Community Forum

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EFAO Online Community Forum


The EFAO is proud to launch a new online resource built to serve Ontario’s ecological farming community: the EFAO Online Community Forum. This tool is meant to foster and facilitate the exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise, as well as the pooling of resources amongst members of the ecological farming community.


As with any community, you get what you put into it. Therefore we encourage you to actively participate: ask questions, offer up opinions, and answer other members’ questions. The forum is open to anyone that has an account on (members and non-members alike).


We know your time is precious, and with that in mind we made sure the Forum is easy and convenient for you to use. Some of its features are:


  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Yearly digests (you decide!)
  • Topic activity notifications
  • Reply-by-email
  • User preferences to customize your forum experience
  • Fully indexed and searchable content
  • Actively moderated by EFAO staff and volunteers


As far as content goes, you can expect the following:


  • Categorized content for all aspects of ecological farming
  • Input from the EFAO member base
  • Classifieds (buy/sell, jobs, etc.) section exclusive to EFAO members
  • Special content from EFAO events (presentations, workshops, etc.) and post-event discussion


In order to access the Forum, you simply need to use your account username and password. If you don’t have such an account, you can create one for free and get access to the forum. So don’t wait and bookmark the link below.

The EFAO Online Community Forum is generously funded by Carrot Cache!


Join the discussion now at:

Seeking On-Farm Event Coordinators!

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EFAO Volunteer Positions

On-Farm Event Coordinators

Position: On-Farm Event Coordinators

Type: 7 month volunteer (details below)

Organization: Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (

Location: Guelph, Ontario

EFAO is looking for 2 Volunteer On-Farm Coordinators, one located in Eastern Ontario and one located in Southwestern Ontario.

In this position, you would attend and facilitate farm tours and on-farm workshops covering a variety of topics, from irrigation to cut flower production on behalf of EFAO. The On-Farm Event Coordinator is a volunteer position starting in April and lasting until November 2017. The position involves approximately 40 hours of work total, depending on schedule and availability. Events may be on weekends or weekdays (typically, though not exclusively, Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday) and can be up to 6 or 8 hours, including travel time. Volunteers are reimbursed for travel expenses.

Deadline: February 24, 2017

Responsibilities may include:

  •  Bringing necessary supplies
  • Taking registrations and payment
  • Introducing EFAO
  •  Supporting farm tour host as needed
  • Collecting evaluations
  • Documenting the event (blog post, pictures or video)


  • Experience coordinating events
  • Experience public speaking
  • Practical farming experience
  • Knowledge of ecological agriculture
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Timely and attentive to details
  • Relationship-building skills
  • Ability to see tasks through
  • Familiarity with broader farm community in Ontario


Position Requirements

  • One of the volunteers must live in, or close to Guelph, Ontario and be available to come into the office
  • You will need to have access to a car and valid driver’s license


A complete application will consist of:

  1. A resume outlining relevant experience
  2. A cover letter describing why you would be a good fit for this position


Questions about the position can be directed to Naomi Krucker, Membership Services Coordinator (, 519-822-8606 x.105)

Email resume and cover letter in a single document to

EFAO Completes Growing Forward 2 Business and Leadership Development Project

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EFAO Standard Logo 2015


EFAO recently completed a 10-month planning and training project funded by Growing Forward 2, aimed at increasing EFAO’s organizational leadership, governance and management capacity.

Results from this project include the following:

  1. Board strategic planning process and development of a 3-year Strategic Plan
  2. Management/operations training for new Executive Director
  3. Board governance and leadership training
  4. Media Training for the EFAO Board and ED
  5. Development of Financial Management and Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manuals, a Board Manual and a Membership Handbook

EFAO members will have the opportunity to read the 3-year Strategic Plan and the Membership Handbook which will soon be posted on the EFAO website. Stay tuned to your E-news and newsletter!

We are very grateful to this funding from Growing Forward 2, which has provided significant resources in helping EFAO develop its leadership, governance and management capacity.

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Learn Farm Share JOIN!

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JOIN a Growing Community of Farmers!


The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario puts you in touch with other farmers, facilitates face to face interaction, hands on learning, and social connections.

You can’t get this from reading a book, or surfing the web! We offer you the opportunity to get involved, and share what you know! Whether you want to pass on knowledge, or would benefit from the encouragement and experience of other farmers, by joining the EFAO you are supporting the larger ecological farming community!

As a member, you help EFAO continue to offer practical, relevant and ongoing education for farmers who are dedicated to improving the practice of ecological farming in Ontario.

Get Your Membership at: 

All new memberships received by March 31, 2016 will be entered in a draw for a $100 gift certificate from Lee Valley Tools! 

Full  Membership Benefits:
Farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing & support

Discounted rates on EFAO courses and workshops

$75 discount on annual EFAO Conference

Access to our Advisory Service

Subscription to bi-monthly Ecological Farming in Ontario print Newsletter

Notice about upcoming ecological farming events through the E-News bulletin

Listing in our online Producer Directory

Free online and E-news listings in our Stock Exchange 

Discount listings in our Stock Exchange

Access to small print advertising in print newsletter

Member discounts and services apply to all farm members, including employees and interns

Access to digital “Member of EFAO” logo and voting rights!

New Membership Rates and Benefits this September!

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The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario is working hard to support and promote a vibrant community of ecological farmers through education, training and knowledge sharing.  As we want to continue to offer valuable services to our membership and quality training we will be increasing our rates as of 1 September 2015.  At the same time we are also pleased to be able to offer you more services with your membership… please take a moment to review all we have to offer!

New Membership Rates and Benefits 

Newsletter Subscription Only: $50/year

• Subscription to bi-monthly Ecological Farming in Ontario print Newsletter

• Notice about upcoming ecological farming events through the E-News bulletin


Individual/Farm Membership: $75/year or $130/2 years 

• Farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing & support

• Discounted rates on EFAO farm tours and workshops

• $75 discount on annual EFAO Conference

• Access to our free Phone/Email Advisory Service

• Access to our subsidized On-Farm Advisory Servicenic in the field 2

• Subscription to bi-monthly Ecological Farming in Ontario print Newsletter

• Notice about upcoming ecological farming events through the E-News bulletin

• Listing in our online Producer Directory

• Free online and E-news listings in our Stock Exchange – NEW!

• Discounted listings in our print Stock Exchange

• Access to small print advertising in print newsletter

• Member discounts and services apply to all farm members, including employees and interns

• Access to digital “Member of EFAO” logo – NEW!

• Voting rights


Business Membership: $250/year

• Full membership as listed above

• 30% discount on large format display advertising in our print newsletter (6 issues/year and over 400 subscribers)

• 30% discount on advertising in our annual conference program (over 300 participants) – NEW!

• Additional copies of our newsletter at cost

• Business profile in a welcome email to mailing list (1000 subscribers) – NEW!

• Logo included on scrolling business member feature, visible on each website page – NEW!

• Business name, description and link on Business Members web page – NEW!

• $150 discount on trade show booth at annual conference  – NEW!


Sustaining Membership: $250/year

Full 1 year Individual/Farm Membership (as listed above) plus acknowledgement in our newsletter. By purchasing a sustaining membership you will provide EFAO with vital resources to build capacity, develop programming and continue offering services to our members across the province.

Save the Date!

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Ecological Farmers of Ontario Conference

December 3-5, 2015

London, Ontario

conference fun 2014

300 participants and over 30 workshops
on market gardening, livestock, soil, seed saving, field crops and more.
Help us shape this conference!
What do you want to learn about? Who do you want to hear from?
Here’s how you can participate:

ADVISORY COMMITTEE: We’re looking for members to set the conference program. Time requirements include some emailing and 1 phone call in late July. Deadline for requests to join the committee is July 5, 2015

PROGRAM IDEAS: Send along your ideas for workshop topics and speakers whether you join the committee or not, through our online Suggestion Box!

ARTWORK: We’re requesting proposals for artwork to illustrate this year’s conference! Please send along a sample of your artwork by July 12, 2015.

To get in touch contact Ali English ( or 519-822-8606 ext. 104)


Keep an eye on the newsletter and website as our conference unfolds. And in the meantime, tell your friends, send along your ideas and save the date!

A practical conference for ecological farmers, 

by ecological farmers!

To Certify or not to Certify… That’s the Dilemma!

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Many small-scale farmers are choosing not to certify their farms as organic. And it’s not going unnoticed. The Canadian General Standards Board of Canada wanted to know why and what could be done differently. So, a Working Group on Small-Scale Organic Certification (WGSSOC) was formed to focus on Small-Scale Organic Certification.

This working group is made up of organic consultants and farmers. All were familiar with some of the reasons farmers were choosing not to certify (while still being committed to organic agriculture in their production management) but they wanted to know more. A survey was created and sent out to farmers across Canada.

The group received nearly 200 responses from certified and non-certified organic farms.  A common concern was “one size can’t fit all” and that a certification process designed for international and national trade does not really work well for diversified small farms focused on local markets.  Other concerns were the cost, the amount of paperwork and the responsiveness of certifying bodies to requests.

Based on those survey results, the WGSSOC members explored possible systems that could suit small-scale (or direct-market) farmers better.

These options included a “virtual” process where the inspector would do a “virtual tour” of the farm rather than an in-person inspection, a group certification system, a peer certification process, a simplified certification and audit system by some or all of the existing certifying bodies, and a self declaration system.  After considering the different options, the WGSSOC will be developing the concepts of “Peer Certification” and “Self Declaration” further.

One benefit to the national organic industry to include these small-scale farmers is that they are the “face” of the organic industry. These farmers, who meet their customers every week at the farmers’ market, CSA drop-off, restaurant back-door, and through opening their barn doors with farm tours and on-farm events, represent Canada Organic’s image and brand. As any marketer knows, this added-value should not be taken for granted.

Shannon Jones, a member of the WGSSOC said,  “As organic farmers, large and small, we need to work together to strengthen our industry in order for our voices to be heard at a national level and to create the change we want to see in the world.”

The WGSSOC has  started a blog to facilitate the discussion. To read more and leave comments, visit here.

For more information, please contact:

Tony McQuail
Convener, Working Group on Small Scale Organic Certification
86016 Creek Line, RR # 1
Lucknow, ON
N0G 2H0