Ont Ag Week Series: Pfennings Farms talks about Organic Agriculture

Things looking a bit different?
Nope, you're not on the wrong site – we're updating our look and content! Keep your eyes peeled for more changes!

Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: October 6, 2016

Categories: GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Members

Pfenning's Organic Farm

Pfenning’s Organic Farm

Sustain Ontario is celebrating Ontario Agriculture Week by talking with some of our valued members about the importance of agriculture and the impact of their work in the province.

For our next #OntAgWeek Series blog post, we spoke with Vincent Strickland, Compliance Coordinator with Pfenning’s Farm, an organic farm, packer & distributor of organic produce in New Hamburg/Waterloo Region:


Why does Agriculture matter to Ontario?

  • Fundamentally, everyone needs to eat.
  • The more food we can produce and manufacture in Ontario, the better it is for our planet and our economy. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture reports in 2013 that Ontario’s “agriculture supports nearly 158,000 jobs with $8.1 billion in wages and salaries.”1
  • Having a robust local food economy is also important for food security. Producing food close to home, coupled with sound policy, is important to ensure people can access healthy, nutritious food.

What does your farm bring to the agricultural landscape of Ontario?

    • Proof that organic farming is viable.
    • We have more consumer demand than we can meet. We have people coming to us every year looking to learn the knowledge and skills they want to develop to start farming organically. New farmers are looking to farm sustainably and that knowledge transfer and support from farms like ourselves who have been running for over 30 years is important if our goal is to increase the amount of organic acreage in Ontario.
    • As we grow and transition more land to organic vegetable farming, we are able to give more employment opportunities to our local community and communities abroad through our participation in migrant worker programs.

AgWeek-pfenning quote

Photo provided by Pfenning's Farm

Photos provided by Pfenning’s Farm

Why is organic farming important to agriculture in Ontario?

  • Organic farming is based on balanced ecology, with the soil as the foundation. Maintaining soil health is the corner stone of productive soils that takes microbial activity, nutrient availability and soil structure into consideration². By using compost as our main nutrient source, we increase the organic matter of the soil, which increases the microbial diversity and allows for better nutrient retention. High organic matter also creates water holding capacity which can allow for better drought resistance.
  • Organic farming is required to maintain buffer strips. While their purpose is to protect the organic integrity of the field, they can also serve the purpose of naturalizing the landscape and creating pollinator and animal refuge areas.
  • We have some of the best farmland in the world right here in Ontario and it’s vitally important that we preserve its vitality through organic farming methods.

1. http://www.ofa.on.ca/media/news/study-shows-value-of-ontarios-agri-food-economy
².  https://www.organic-center.org/hot-science/organic-agriculture-and-soil-health/

Thank you to Pfenning’s Farm for taking the time to chat with us about the role organic farming plays in Ontario agriculture.
Happy Ontario Agriculture Week!