While anyone can become a Supporting or Leading Member by making an annual contribution to OCO, Grow Organic Collectors are aggregators who purchase from Ontario organic suppliers and sell to organic customers. Anyone along the value chain can participate, but collectors are most often in a position to collect contributions in the form of a “check-off” or a small production-based fee that comes off of their payment to suppliers.
Endorse the Plan
“ Organic growth is my passion. As an organic group, we need to be a strong voice of information for the consumer, the producer, the politician and every prospective participant in the organic field. A collection program is a simple and fair way to generate the funds needed to lobby the issue for all.”
— Rita K. Felder-Kaufmann, CEO, Field Farms Marketing Ltd.
Together, we can grow Ontario organic to 5% in 5 years! The first step is making and Organic Check-off reality. To do so, we must complete the process to gain designation as a Representative Association under Section 12 of the Farm Products Marketing Act. One requirement is the endorsement of at least 50% of all organic producers in Ontario. Fill out the form below to add your endorsement to the list!
Below is a list of folks who have already endorsed the plan. Add your name to the list by filling out the form!
Bernd PortzOn Top of the World Organic Inc.
Brook ScottVillage Market Waldorf Thornhill
Martin De GrootMapletons Organic Dairy
Morris Van De WalleVandeholm Farms Ltd.
Robert FleischauerGolden Acres Farm
Steven ArdronKuntz Forestry Consulting
Uli HackHack Farm
Vince De DellDe Dell Seeds
The check-off proposal is based on the feedback of more than 600 respondents and extensive market research, but we’re always open to new insights! Share your ideas, critiques, and/or questions through the form below.
Since 2015, the Organic Council of Ontario has partnered with organic buyers and aggregators to pilot the “Grow Ontario Collection” program. This is a voluntary check-off model in which partners collect a small fee from their suppliers and customers, then remit it to OCO. The support of Grow Ontario Collectors has been critical in growing the capacity of OCO while we work on building the capacity of our entire sector! Through the pilot program, Grow Organic Collectors become Leading Members with OCO and receive tangible benefits. Their suppliers and customers can also receive Supporting Member benefits as a result of the program. Learn how you can become a Collector. If you'd like to contribute to the immediate growth of the organic sector, read along:
About the Program
Who can join?›
How do I become a collector?›
- Decide on a contribution arrangement (e.g. 0.1% of organic sales. See below for examples).
- Decide on your accounting strategy and tracking strategy (see below for examples).
- Plan collection/payment schedule with OCO (e.g. quarterly, biannual, annual).
- Sign the Grow Organic Collection Program MOU & Confidentiality Agreement
- Inform your suppliers and/or customers, include OCO membership benefits in communication as contributions can be counted towards member benefits.
- Provide short annual reports every December that track: a. How much you predict to generate in the coming year. b. Names and amounts from suppliers customers (confidential to OCO staff), or provide them with receipts.
- Receive your Leading Member benefits and get recognized here.
Why should I join?›
By joining, you are helping to grow the entire Ontario organic sector by helping us implement our 5% in 5 years plan and priorities. You become a Leading Member of OCO with increased visibility in our Ontario Organic Directory. Your suppliers and customers can also gain membership benefits as Supporting Members.
- Organic Directory listing
- Vote on policy issues
- Board representative
- Four months of featured Directory listing
- Three months of Directory classifieds per year
- Two months of a Directory banner ad
- Two E-News classifieds per year
- Two social media spotlights per year
- Event discounts for up to four people per year
- Organic inputs and consultant discount
- Advertising options
How much should I collect?›
OCO suggests a collection of 50% of your commodity fee and/or 0.1% of sales. Here are some examples of what the commodity fee numbers can look like:
|Product||Example Metric*||Suppliers Pay||Collector Pays||Customer Pays|
|Cattle||$0.50 per head||$0.50 per head||$0.50 per head||$1.00/head|
|Vegetables||1% of invoices||0.05% of invoices||0.05% of invoices||0.1% of invoices|
|Grain||$0.50 per tonne||$0.50 per tonne||$0.50 per tonne||$1.00 per tonne|
*Based roughly on 50% of commodity fee and/or 0.1% of sales.
Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables
- Pfenning’s proposed using a 0.1% of sales contribution. In this case, Pfenning’s takes 0.05% off invoices paid to producers, matches that amount themselves, and adds 0.1% on invoices to customers. For products that they both produce and process, Pfenning’s contributes 0.1%.
- Pfenning’s uses an additional line on invoices to delineate the contribution.
Field Farms Marketing
- FFM used the conventional levy pricing which varies for each commodity (instead of collecting $0.50/tonne on all types of grain, like others).
- They also chose to pay on behalf of producers to avoid accounting complications.
- They have also not solicited fees from customers.
How do I collect?›
In order to meet the operational needs of OCO and minimize the negative impact on the competitiveness of organic operators, OCO suggests that collection amounts be included in purchasing agreements in advance of initiating the program. OCO also suggests collecting the fee from the suppliers’ payment. Customer payments can be included on the invoice. Remittances should be tracked using an accounting code and paid on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.
How will my suppliers and customers benefit?›
If you are involving your suppliers and/or customers in the Grow Organic Collection Program, you can make sure they receive additional benefits as well. How does this work? One of two ways:
Track and Share Contributions: You sign a confidentiality agreement with OCO and share a list of contributing suppliers and customers along with how much they contributed during the year. This amount will go towards their OCO Supporting Member fees for the following year.
Send Receipts: You send a receipt to participating suppliers/customers detailing their contributions at the end of each year. They can use this “receipt” towards Supporter Membership fees and benefits for the following year.
Supporting Membership comes with additional promotion, discounts and premium placement in our Ontario Organic directory. We are happy to supply you with communications materials if you choose to participate in this way.
How will this affect the price of my products and my customers?›
Assuming collectors would collect and match 0.05% from the suppliers, and collect 0.1% from customers, the fee will not significantly affect the end-consumers. In return, your suppliers and customers are contributing to building a more robust organic sector.
|Product||Average Industry Price||GOCP Wholesale Price||Average Retail Price||Retail Price with Fee|
|Apples||Per case of 100-125: $95||Per case of 100-125: $95.10||Per pound: $2||Per pound: $2.004|
|Potatoes||Per pound: $0.75||Per pound: $0.751||Per pound: $1.20||Per pound: $1.2024|
|Chicken||Per pound: $2.99||Per pound: $2.993||Per pound: $5||Per pound: $5.01|
|Wheat - feed||Per pound: $404||Per pound: $404.40|
How much is raised through this program?›
Because the program relies on sales and volume as opposed to a flat fee, collections will fluctuate slightly with production every year.
In 2016, OCO raised approximately $32,000 through the program with only five collectors. The Grow Organic Collection Program budget surpassed the membership revenue of $29,000 from 125 operators. In 2017, Grow Organic Collection money contributed to the development and communication of the program (Grow Ontario Organic) and the development of an Ontario organic directory.
As the collection fund grows, our plans for allocating the funds will follow the sector’s plan and priorities and will be reported regularly to all contributors.
How does this work for suppliers and customers who are outside of Ontario?›
As of 2017, several other provinces are working on a Grow Organic Collection Program. Collections contributed to OCO originating from provinces outside of Ontario, with proper tracking, should be remitted to the organic provincial association from which the fee was collected. For this reason, we strongly encourage that collectors track contributions and share that data with OCO.
Collectors may also decide to collect from customers. Contributions received from customers located in other provinces should go to the association in the customer’s province. If the customer is outside of Canada, then the remittance should be to the association in the collector’s home province.
What if my customers are paying twice?›
Since the Grow Organic Collection Program is based on production volume and sales, contributions through multiple collectors should not be “double taxing” any one operator. If you are paying Grow Organic contributions through multiple collectors, you should receive estimates of your contributions from your collectors at the end of the year. Those estimates can be counted towards OCO membership dues and benefits. If you pay fees above and beyond your Supporting Member category or are concerned about overlap, OCO will work with you to find an appropriate solution.
What if I am already a member of the Organic Council of Ontario?›
As of January 2018, all certified organic operators will automatically have a basic membership with OCO. If you become a Grow Organic supplier or customer and are not yet a Supporting Member, you can put your Grow Organic contributions toward Supporting Membership dues and receive benefits. If you are a Grow Organic supplier or customer and already a supporting member, OCO can put your Grow Organic contributions towards additional benefits. See membership coordinator for details.
It is important to note that all Grow Organic collectors receive additional benefits if their matching funds go above and beyond the Supporting Membership fees bracket.
THANK YOU to Our Current Grow Organic Collectors