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Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative

Producer Policy Manual

1. Introduction/Mission:

•   The Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative Inc. (OVFC) was incorporated in December 2007 as a not-for-profit, non-share co-operative under the Co-operative Corporations Act of Ontario.

•   The OVFC’s mission is to provide a marketing network in the Ottawa Valley for locally grown or processed foods and other locally made products for the mutual benefit of our producer and consumer members.  The activities of the co-op are governed by the core values of healthy rural communities, environmental stewardship, social justice, and vibrant local economies.

•   More information about the OVFC can be found on the website at: www.ovfc.ca.

2. Overview Policies:

2.1  Membership

•   Membership in the OVFC is subject to “agreeing to support the vision and mission of the co-operative”.

•   The reference to environmental stewardship includes movement towards organic and sustainable production practices.

•   The OVFC is a "co-operative" and relies heavily on both producer and consumer volunteers to exist.  Please volunteer when you can and kindly appreciate the other volunteers in our local food community.

2.2  Local Geography

•   The OVFC general policy is that we allow all producers located within our local geography and their products which are grown or processed locally by them.  This specifically excludes all resale products as no value has been added locally by the producer.

•   Producers are encouraged to use local ingredients and supplies whenever possible and disclose this in their profiles and product descriptions so that consumers can chose to support them with their OVFC purchases.

•   All producers must live and produce their products within the OVFC catchment area that is defined by the Ottawa Valley Tourism Association Road Map (http://www.ottawavalley.travel/Info_Centre/Travel_Resources/Ottawa_Valley_Road_Map.html).

2.3 Production Practices

•   OVFC encourages producers to use organic, ecologically sound, and sustainable production practicesand to explain their efforts so that consumers can support them with theirOVFC purchases.  This includes such things as reducing the use of chemicals (e.g. pesticides), avoiding GMO's, and following humane animal practices.

2.4  Disclosure

•   All producers are required to disclose their product ingredients and production practices so that the consumers can make informed food and product choices and direct their food dollars to the production practicesthat they want to support.

2.5  Ownership

•   At no time does OVFC have ownership of any of the products.   The products that go through the OVFC distribution system are owned either by the producer, or by the consumer who purchases the products directly from the producer.

2.6  Legal, Health & Safety Requirements

•   All producers, processors and crafters must be knowledgeable about and adhere to all relevant legislation regarding production and sale of their products (e.g. government meat inspections, labeling, inspected kitchens).

•   All food producers are encouraged to take their Safe Food Handling Certification Course.

•   All applicable copyrights remain with the producer. Since the OVFC never holds title to any product sold, the OVFC is not responsible for any copyright infringement issues with concern to your work.

2.7  Producer Insurance

See Recommendations for board

2.8  Transportation and Product Quality

•   Producers are responsible for the delivery of their products to the Pembroke Hub. 

•   The producer is responsible for the quality of the product until they deliver the products to the Pembroke Hub. 

•   Producers are requested to attend the Pembroke Hub for at least one delivery day as soon as they’re able to do so. This is the best way to see how the OVFC operates and can be done before they become a member. 

3. Product Standards: 

3.1 Disclosure

•   Producers are required to give disclosure of their production practices so that the consumers can make informed choices about their OVFC purchases.

•   If producers use any of the following terms in their product descriptions they must meet the definitions as below.

•   Definition of Terms

   Local: Within the boundaries of the OVTA Tourist Map (see Appendix).

   Regional: Within the boundaries of Ontario or Quebec.

   Certified Organic: A farm or product certified by an accredited Certification Body as listed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. For more information regarding Canadian Organic Standards please see these websites (www.inspection.gc.ca, www.cog.ca, http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ongc-cgsb/programme-program/normes-standards/internet/index-eng.html).

   Organic Non-certified: A farm that follows organic production practices and producer needs to explain how they farm in their producer profile. For more information refer to above websites for Canadian Organic Standards.

   GMO-free: The producer pledges that all of the product is free of all Genetically Modified or Genetically Engineered Organisms. See these websites for more thorough definitions of GM/GE Organisms (www.cban.ca, http://www.nongmoproject.org/).

   Health-inspected Kitchen: A kitchen inspected and approved that meets the requirements of their local provincial health unit.

   Pastured: Animals raised outdoors, given free range and can be grass-fed and/or grains.

   Grass-fed: Animals that are 100% grass fed (including hay and haylage) all through its life, no grain fed at all throughout life.
    Raised without the use of Antibiotics/Hormones: Meat that comes from livestock that have never been fed or treated with antibiotics or hormones.

   Gluten-free: Products that contain less than 20ppm of the gluten protein.

   Vegan: Products that do not contain any animal products (no dairy, eggs, meat, fish or honey).

   Vegetarian: Food that does not contain meat, fish or fowl, but can include dairy and eggs.

   Field Grown: Plants/vegetables grown outdoors in soil.

   Greenhouse Grown: Plants/vegetables grown in a closed, controlled greenhouse environment.

Note- Many definitions of health and label claims can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website: www.inspection.gc.ca

3.2 Producer Profiles

•   The producer profile must include name of business & producers, location, contact info, product types, description of production practices.

•   This profile page will educate the consumer about all the good things you produce!

3.3 Product Description

•   Clear description of size, weight, quantity, and pieces in the package must be provided

•   Full ingredient list in each product description.

•   A photo of each product is highly recommended.

•   Product description must indicate if it needs to be refrigerated or frozen.

•   Processed foods with animal products best to indicate if fully cooked or requires cooking.

3.4 Product Packaging

•   Packaging needs to be appropriate to protect the product as it’s handled multiple times before reaching the consumer.

•   Each separate package must have the proper OVFC label, and indicate when there are multiple items related to the same label (eg. 1 of 2, 2 of 2)

•   Producers need to know and adhere to legal labeling requirements for their products.

3.5 Primary Food Products

•   All primary foods sold through the OVFC must be locally grown or raised by the producer within the OVFC catchment area.

•   Meat products to be sold through the OVFC must be processed in a licensed and inspected plant. 

•   All producers must be knowledgeable about and adhere to all relevant legislation regarding production and sale of their products (e.g. government meat inspections, labeling, inspected kitchens).

3.6 Value-Added Food Products

•   All processed and value-added food products sold through the OVFC must be prepared by the producer, within the OVFC catchment area.

•   An ingredient list must be provided in the product description online for each product, listed in order from greatest quantity to least.  All ingredients must be disclosed. 

•   The producer must indicate in the product description if they use a health inspected kitchen.

•   All value-added products containing “high risk/hazardous ingredients” as defined by the local health unit  should be prepared in a health inspected kitchen.

•   Producers are encouraged by the OVFC to use as many local ingredients in their food products as possible and indicate them in the product description.

•   Producers are encouraged to use organic and GMO-free ingredients and indicate them in the product description.

3.7 Non-Food Products

•   All non-food products sold through the OVFC must be made by the producer within the OVFC catchment area.

•   Producers cannot purchase finished products and sell them through our service.

•   A producer may purchase a variety of raw materials and components; however significant value must be added. Repackaging purchased materials and components does not constitute adding value.

•   Non-food items that can be sold through the OVFC include useful and aesthetic items for home, garden, or business, such as clothing, health and body care items, written materials, scented products, decorations, pet and agricultural products, art, jewelry, photography, music and media.

•   Business or personal services may not be offered through the OVFC except for workshops/classes/seminars.

•   Producers are encouraged to use materials that originate from the local area.

•   Any local materials used should be indicated in the product description.

4. New Producer Application/Jury Committee & Approval Process:

4.1 Producer Application

•   Applications shall be submitted to the Coordinator who will confirm that the application is complete.

•   The application will then be passed on to the Jury Committee for review at a quarterly meeting (February, May, August, November).

•   The Jury Committee will pass their recommendations on to the Board, and the Board shall make the final decision.

•   The applicants shall be notified in writing of the Board’s decision in a timely fashion.

•   Producers must identify the type of products they will offer, eg. primary, value-added food products or non-food products and give details about their products.

•   All producers may be subject to a jury process when offering new products.

•   Once the producer’s initial products have been approved, the producer may add products within that same category. Any producer wishing to offer products that fall outside their approved category must apply to have them juried by the Jurying Committee.

•   Wherever possible the producer shall present a sample of their product. Photographs may be considered if appropriate.

•   Producers should indicate approximate quantity and seasonal availability of their products.

•   The Jurying Committee may choose to visit the production location to verify production practices.

•  If the producer is not accepted by the Board, the applicant’s producer membership fee shall be refunded.

Testimonial

I just love the down to earthiness of all the people and the food here! This is an honest to goodness revolution, and it's happening in our pantries and in our browsers... a must for the socially conscious gourmet or those who just plain love to eat ! 

Janie McDonals

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